The New York Knicks were playing their third game in four nights in a third different city, having played the Portland Trailblazers Tuesday and the Utah Jazz Wednesday, only to host the Sacramento Kings Friday in New York. Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni warned them of the upcoming challenge, to no avail. The Kings defeated the Knicks 93-83 in one of their worst losses of the season, as the Kings won only their third road game of the season, and ninth overall.
“Coach D’Antoni gave us warning about flying back from the West Coast to the East Coast. I never experienced it before. It was tough to get a win. It was tough to get into rhythm. We missed a lot of shots” Amar’e Stoudemire said after the game. “Legs, jet lag, all the above, everything you can think about. I was 2-15 and Amar’e was 6-22. No one could really hit anything. It was just one of those nights. It happens. You just have to put it behind you. We have a day off tomorrow. We just have to try and rest” said Knicks point guard Raymond Felton. On fatigue, Stoudemire agreed with Felton. “I felt it myself. It was tough to get going. I felt fatigued. The rhythm was off. We got in at 6am from Utah. Could not really sleep that night so our rhythm was a little bit off.”
“I don’t want to take anything away from Sacramento, they played well, but, and a big but, we didn’t have it. Anytime you come back from the West Coast and there is one game inbetween, and this is the third game in the fourth day, it is a little bit llike the Cleveland game. It just repeated itself and it is too bad but we will come back. We will practice and be ready to go” said Coach D’Antoni.
The Knicks were led by Stoudemire, who had 25 points, 13 rebounds,and 5 blocks. Only two Knicks shot over 50% for the night, both off the bench, with Toney Douglas scoring 21 points on 9-17 shooting, along with grabbing 9 rebounds, and Bill Walker, who went 4-6 to score 11 points. No other Knicks were in double figures, as they shot .315 (29-92) from the field.
The Kings were led by Beno Udrih, who paced all scorers with 29 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals. Rookie DeMarcus Cousins had 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks, while Carl Landry came off the bench to score 15 points and grab 9 rebounds. Samuel Dalembert had 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 blocks.
The Knicks started out slow, and were never able to pick things up. The Kings took an early 12-point lead, 24-12, with 46.5 left in the first quarter. They would claim their biggest lead, 16 points, in the fourth quarter on a three-pointer by Tyreke Evans, to put the Kings up 89-73, with 2:29 left in the fourth quarter to essentially put the game away.
Danilo Gallinari should practice Sunday and be ready to go for Monday against the Phoenix Suns. Stoudemire now leads Kevin Garnett in all-star voting, and will start if he remains second in total voting.