By: Morgan Ragan
The Kings fell to the Knicks Wednesday night 107-99.
New York came to Sleep Train Arena with a chip on their shoulder after getting blown out by the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night 127-96.
J.R Smith shot 9 for 12 behind the arc finishing with 29 points, Carmelo Anthony had 36 points for the Knicks hitting 5 three-pointers and Raymond Felton added 10 assists.
“That’s been the story a lot this season we don’t treat guys with the respect they deserve when they are a known shooter like J.R,” head coach Michael Malone said.
The Knicks shot 57.7 percent from three-point land while the Kings only shot 35.3 percent.
Isaiah Thomas sat out due to a thigh contusion so backup point-guard rookie Ray McCallum made his first NBA start. The last time the Kings started rookies in the backcourt was when Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette started in a loss to Houston in 2012.
“I told him (McCallum) to become aggressive and play your game,” DeMarcus Cousins said. “Being an NBA point guard and running the whole team is a tough job.”
McCallum finished with 10 points and five assists for Sacramento.
Cousins stepped up for the short-handed Kings adding 32 points, 15 boards and eight assists, two assists shy of what could have been his second triple-double of the season.
“Tonight he was the guy that was willing us to get back in that game, I’ve never seen him talk that much and its scary how good he can be as a player,” Malone on Cousins after the loss.
Cousins has gone 13 games without getting a technical and has shown improvement bottling up his emotions and keeping his head on straight. When asked what he has done differently to help his mental game he said, “I’m locked in more with the task at hand and zoning out the other things more than anything right now.”
The Kings get ready for a three-game road trip that will start in Oklahoma City on Friday.
Ben McLemore’s confidence was visible as he stepped up in his 31 minutes of playing time hitting 4 for 7 three-pointers. Instead of settling for just his shot, he became aggressive and showed he is dynamic attacking the basket through out the game.
Jason Thompson is playing less as the season comes to an end, only seeing five minutes against New York adding four points.
Royce White played seven minutes for Sacramento only putting two personal fouls on the stat sheet. Malone said he felt like they were meaningful minutes for White and thinks he did a decent job.
It’s hard to get into the flow of the game when you haven’t been playing, especially at the NBA level, but White has to start being more aggressive defensively with every minute he gets on that floor to prove he belongs out there and play every minute like it’s his last.