SACRAMENTO -- After a tough loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday evening, the Kings took Saturday off to regroup before hitting the practice facility floor on Sunday to prepare for the final 20 games. They'll kick off the stretch run with a battle against the 13-50 Knicks at Golden 1 Center.
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Sacramento has lost three straight and five of their last six games. They've fallen three games out of the race for the postseason, but with a string of winnable games ahead, the season is not lost. 10 of the Kings' next 13 games come against teams under .500 on the season.
New York is a mess. They have a few nice young pieces, but they've dropped two straight and are just 5-29 over their previous 34 games. Dennis Smith Jr. is averaging 14.8 points per game since coming over from the Dallas Mavericks, and rookie Kevin Knox is posting 12.4 points in 28.2 minutes per game.
Kings Pregame Live on NBC Sports California begins at 6:30 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m. All coverage can be seen on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.
Following the game against the Knicks, the Kings host the Boston Celtics on Wednesday before hitting the road for a four-game trip to the east coast, beginning with another matchup against the Knicks.
Kings by 11
PG De'Aaron Fox
SG Buddy Hield
SF Bogdan Bogdanovic
PF Harrison Barnes
C Willie Cauley-Stein
PG Dennis Smith Jr.
SG Damyean Dotson
SF Lance Thomas
PF Kevin Knox
C Noah Vonleh
PF Marvin Bagley III (knee) is out.
C DeAndre Jordan (ankle) out, SF Mario Herzonia (leg) out, PG Frank Ntilikina (groin) out.
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Coach Dave Joerger is still working to integrate his new pieces into the system. Harrison Barnes has bounced back and forth between the two forward positions, Alec Burks has played sparingly in the backcourt and Corey Brewer is proving to be a nice find as an energy wing off the bench.
Harry Giles has stepped up his game in the absence of Marvin Bagley. He posted big numbers in the third and fourth quarters against the Bucks and backed that up with a 15-point, five-rebound performance against the Clippers.
With the team hitting the stretch run, Joerger intends to bump up Fox's minutes over the final 20 games when needed. The sophomore point guard is averaging 31.6 minutes per game this season and has seen action in 61 of the Kings' 62 games.
David Fizdale is having a rough first season in New York and, barring an incredible summer of free agency, it's unlikely to get better anytime soon. The Knicks rank 25th in both points scored and points allowed, running a negative-8.3 net rating on the season. They rank 16th in the NBA in pace, last in assists and field goal percentage and 27th in 3-point shooting.
Rookie Mitchell Robinson is trying to finish the season strong. He's posted double-doubles in three of his previous four games and he's averaging 4.25 blocks per game over the stretch.
The Knicks rely heavily on their second unit. Robinson, along with Emmanuel Mudiay and Allonzo Trier form a formidable group that complements and, at times, outplays New York's first team.
With the potential for protests in Downtown Sacramento, the Kings have released the following statement:
"Golden 1 Center and Downtown Commons safety and security officials, in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies and city officials, have implemented enhanced security measures to ensure the safety of guests.
"Today, the plaza will close in the early afternoon and will only re-open to ticketed guests to ensure safe entry into the arena for the game tonight. Ticket checks will be in place on the perimeter of the plaza and an increased security presence will be on-site to assist ticketed guests. To expedite entry, guests are encouraged to arrive early and have their ticket ready to show staff.
"Once the plaza closes, public access to the following Downtown Commons merchants will be restricted to ticketed guests – Urban Outfitters, Andy's Candy, Display, Estelle's Bakery, Fizz, Häagen-Dazs and Pressed Juicery. All other Downtown Commons retailers and restaurants are expected to remain open to the general public.
"We apologize for any inconvenience as we take steps to ensure guests enjoy a safe experience at Golden 1 Center and Downtown Commons."