Saturday, December 31, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Knicks 114, Kings 92
By Ian Begley
WHAT IT MEANS: After enduring back-to-back embarrassing losses on the West Coast, the Knicks kissed 2011 goodbye with a blowout victory. They used improved ball movement and sharp shooting to dominate the Sacramento Kings and improve to 2-2.
THE GOOD: Let's get this out of the way: The Knicks are not a better team without Amare Stoudemire. But they played pretty well without him on Saturday night. Stoudemire sat with a sprained ankle. His replacement, Josh Harrellson, finished with 14 points, hit four 3-pointers and grabbed 12 rebounds in what was the best the Knicks could have hoped to get out of the rookie.
POINT PROVEN: Maligned point guard Toney Douglas played his best game of the young season, scoring 17 points [four 3-pointers], handing out eight assists and only turning the ball over once. The Knicks' offense featured plenty of ball movement and effective pick and rolls -- two aspects that were markedly absent in the past two games. Overall, they had 26 assists and 40 makes.
SPREADING IT AROUND: The Knicks had six players in double figures, led by Carmelo Anthony's 23 points. Tyson Chandler had 22 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He made all 10 of his free throws.
Chandler had had a tough time with foul trouble against Boston and Golden State but he weathered early foul trouble against Sacramento to grab seven rebounds and block three shots.
Landry Fields also turned in his strongest performance of the season -- and probably since last February -- finishing with 21 points on 10-of-16 shooting.
THE BAD: Not much to nitpick here. The Knicks held the Kings to 35 percent shooting from the floor and 27 percent from beyond the arc. Mike D'Antoni's club was outrebounded 51-43 and allowed 22 offensive rebounds, but that was a product of the Kings' 56 misses.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks return home to face Toronto on Monday, beginning a stretch of six games in which they face teams that finished last season under .500.