SACRAMENTO KINGS

Preview: Kings look to beat Knicks at MSG for first time since 2019

Apr 4, 2024, 9:16 AM | Updated: 9:16 am

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 16: Keegan Murray #13 of the Sacramento Kings drives to the basket b...

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Western Conference standings are an absolute mess with just over one week remaining in the regular season.

Entering play on Thursday night, the sixth through ninth seeds are separated by three games, while the Sacramento Kings’ place in the standings has changed nearly daily.

For the eighth-seed Kings (44-31), the task is simple: Keep pace with those around them in the standings, and that’s what Sacramento has done. Sacramento has won 10 of its past 15 games, including two straight contests following Monday’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

As the season winds down, the Kings are well within reach of a top-six finish in the West, but they will have to secure some wins against teams in similar predicaments, starting with the New York Knicks on Thursday afternoon.

New York (44-31) is currently two games ahead of Play-In territory in the Eastern Conference, meaning that a win over Sacramento will only help its chances of inching closer to a guaranteed first-round playoff appearance.

Madison Square Garden has been unkind to the Kings, as Sacramento will look to snap a three-game losing skid on the Knicks’ home floor that dates back to their most-recent win: November 3, 2019.

YouTube video

Sacramento Kings vs. New York Knicks Game Info

When: 4:30 PM PST

Where: Madison Square Garden  – New York City, NY

TV: TNT

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Coverage starts at 3:00 PM on Game Night

Line: Knicks -3.5, O/U 214.5

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Knicks coverage, beginning at 3:00 PM PST on Game Night before a 4:30 PM PST tip-off from The Big Apple.

Contain Brunson

During New York’s 98-91 win over Sacramento at Golden 1 Center on March 16th, Jalen Brunson was unstoppable.

Brunson scored 42 points on 17-of-28 shooting as the Kings struggled to slow the All-Star guard. With Brunson dialed in, Sacramento failed to get stops in the fourth as the guard put up nine points during the final period.

The Knicks are 19-10 (.655) when Brunson scores 30+ points this season, meaning that it will be important for the Kings to keep the high-scoring guard under control this time around.

Bench Power

During Monday’s win over the Clippers, Sacramento’s bench stepped up in a big way to help secure the win.

Trey Lyles has looked strong in his return from a lengthy absence due to a knee injury, averaging 13.0 points on 47 percent shooting from the field and 46 percent from downtown (6.5 attempts per game) over two appearances.

With Lyles’ return and Davion Mitchell continuing to showcase his red-hot three-point shooting (46 percent on 2.7 attempts over the past 15 games), the Kings have been able to put forth a solid bench product, even with Sixth Man of the Year favorite Malik Monk (knee) sidelined for the remainder of the regular season.

If Lyles, Mitchell, and Alex Len (seven rebounds and three blocks on Monday night) can continue to help Sacramento survive the stretches without both of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis on the floor, the Kings could have a formula for success during the closing days of the season and into the postseason.

Keep Feeding Keegan

Good things happen when Keegan Murray is aggressive with the basketball.

For the first time in his professional career, the forward has attempted 18+ field goal attempts in back-to-back games–both winning efforts–as Murray has shown an uptick in aggression on the offensive end in light of Monk and Kevin Huerter’s season-ending injuries.

Over the past two seasons, Sacramento holds a record of 24-6 (.800) when Murray scores 20 points or more. Having Murray look for his shot more takes pressure off of Fox and Sabonis to act as the focal point on each offensive set, and the fourth-overall pick from last year’s draft has looked effective while doing so.

Murray’s range has been a huge part of his game, but attacking off-the-dribble and going to the basket have been rare occurrences–until now. On Monday, Murray converted five of his six attempts inside of the paint, including a poster jam that sent Golden 1 Center into a frenzy.

“Keegan can jump,” Trey Lyles said of Murray’s dunk following Monday’s win. “He be playing with ya’ll, but he can jump.”

As the Kings continue to search for a new offensive identity without Huerter and Monk, Murray is a prime candidate for increased volume on that end of the floor. If we’ve learned anything from the past two games, it’s that Murray isn’t just going to try and hurt opponents from deep–he’s also going to attack the rim.

Kings vs. Knicks Injury Report

Sacramento

  • Malik Monk – OUT (Right knee sprain)
  • Kevin Huerter – OUT (left shoulder dislocation)
  • Mason Jones – OUT (G-League)
  • Jalen Slawson – OUT (G-League)
  • Jordan Ford – OUT (G-League)

New York

  • Josh Hart – QUSTIONABLE (right wrist sprained)
  • Mitchell Robinson – QUESTIONABLE (left ankle management)
  • OG Anunoby – OUT (right elbow tendinopathy)
  • Julius Randle – OUT (right shoulder dislocation)

Upcoming Schedule

  • Thursday, April 4th – Sacramento Kings @ New York Knicks – 4:30 PM PST
  • Friday, April 5th – Sacramento Kings @ Boston Celtics – 4:30 PM PST
  • Sunday, April 7th – Sacramento Kings @ Brooklyn Nets – 4:30 PM PST
  • Tuesday, April 9th – Sacramento Kings @ Oklahoma City Thunder – 5:00 PM PST
  • Thursday, April 11th – Sacramento Kings vs. New Orleans Pelicans – 7:00 PM PST

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