Floundering Knicks Need Slide-Busting Effort Vs. Kings
SACRAMENTO (AP) — Tyreke Evans nearly had two triple-doubles as a rookie in helping the Sacramento Kings take both meetings with the New York Knicks.
New Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire, meanwhile, usually dominates the Kings.
One of these teams’ lengthy losing streaks will end Wednesday night when the Kings look to defeat the visiting Knicks for the 11th time in 14 meetings.
Sacramento (3-6) has lost five straight and New York (3-8) has dropped six in a row. The Kings have not played since a 100-94 loss to Detroit on Sunday, and that should be an advantage since the Knicks fell 120-118 at Denver on Tuesday.
“We’re looking forward to a game,” Kings coach Paul Westphal said. “We know we’ve lost five in a row, we hate it. We’re anxious to go play.”
Evans was spectacular against New York last season. He had 19 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in a 111-97 home win Nov. 25, and finished with 27, 10 and seven in a 118-114 overtime victory Feb. 9.
Stoudemire is averaging 22.8 points and 11.1 rebounds in his last 10 games against the Kings – all victories for Phoenix. He’s leading the Knicks with a 21.1 scoring average, but his 46.4 field-goal percentage is the worst mark of his nine-year career.
The Kings plan to try and swarm Stoudemire with multiple defenders.
“You have Stoudemire to start with,” Westphal said. “You have to honor him, you can’t just guard him with one person. He’s an explosive player, he can go for 50.”
Part of Sacramento’s strategy against Stoudemire will be to try to protect rookie DeMarcus Cousins, the fifth overall pick in last spring’s draft. Cousins has struggled to total 26 points and 24 rebounds over his last four games, and has picked up five fouls or more in six of his first nine games.
“I can’t control the refs,” Cousins said. “If I get the calls, I get them. If I don’t I just try to play through it, that’s basketball. That’s the way it is.”
The Kings are the league’s worst defensive team, allowing opponents to shoot 48.9 percent.
That includes a 39.4 percent mark on 3-pointers, and that’s a concern against a Knicks team that has shot a league-high 277 attempts from beyond the arc. New York is shooting 32.1 percent on 3s for one of the NBA’s worst marks.
“They’re a team that has been a little hot and cold,” Westphal said. “But when they’re hot, there’s not much you can do about it because they spread the floor so well.”
New York only made 9 of 31 3-pointers Tuesday in the opener of a four-game road trip. Stoudemire scored 24 points and rookie Landry Fields, a second-round pick out of Stanford, added season highs of 21 points and 17 boards.
Third-year forward Danilo Gallinari had 21 points and 10 rebounds, but missed 13 of 19 shots. He’s shooting a career-low 35.9 percent, including 30.5 percent from beyond the arc after finishing second in the league with 186 3-pointers in 2009-10.
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