The Knicks take on the new-look Kings tonight in a battle against De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis in the second game of a back-to-back.

The New York Knicks (26-38) take on the Sacramento Kings (24-42) in the fourth game of their seven-game road trip tonight. The Knicks, losers of 16 of their last 20 games, are beginning to see even their play-in tournament chances slide and might be competing with the Kings in a battle of lottery odds tonight.

The Knicks are playing the second game of a back-to-back after snapping their seven-game losing streak to the Los Angeles Clippers last night at a score of 116-93. The Knicks looked great last night, especially from their youthful core. Immanuel Quickley had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Cam Reddish chimed in with 17 points, and RJ Barrett led the team with 24 points to go with nine rebounds and four assists.

The Knicks beat the Kings handily at a score of 116-96 in their first contest of the season at Madison Square Garden back on January 31st. Alec Burks led the team that day, coming off the bench to score 21 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field and 4-for-6 from three-point range. He was one of six Knicks to score in double digits that day, as Evan Fournier (18), Julius Randle (17), Obi Toppin (14), Quentin Grimes (14), and RJ Barrett (11) all got in on the fun. Mitchell Robinson also had a monster defensive game, pulling down 13 rebounds to go with two blocks and a steal.

The Kings were without point guard De’Aaron Fox for that contest, and the team was led by sophomore guard Tyrese Haliburton with 21 points and eight assists. Buddy Hield struggled greatly shooting on the day, making just four of his 13 attempts for 11 points. Harrison Barnes, who’s averaged more than 17 points for the season, only had 11 points on eight shots.

The Knicks continue to flounder, losing their grip on any chance at the play-in tournament. The only positive note about the team in the past two months has been the play of RJ Barrett, averaging over 25 points in his last 15 games. Julius Randle has looked more like the player the league was introduced to last season, putting up over 25.0 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 6.8 assists in February. The rest of the team, though, has been largely lifeless.

Evan Fournier’s brief hot streak has come to a screeching halt, Tom Thibodeau is still playing Burks out of position as the starting point guard, and the team has been entirely incapable of holding onto a second-half lead as games come down to crunch time. There is no clear direction for this team, and there are just 18 games left in the season to figure something out.

The Kings have struggled as of late, as well, going 2-4 since the All-Star break. Their point guard De’Aaron Fox leads the team, averaging 22.5 points and 5.4 assists per game all the while evading trade rumors for the first three months of the season. The newly acquired Domantas Sabonis has performed close to his All-Star self since his trade from the Indiana Pacers, putting up 17.2 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per contest. 

The Kings are supported by a few new role players, as well, as they try to make a run for the Western Conference’s play-in tournament. Justin Holiday, acquired in the Pacers trade along with Sabonis, has averaged over nine points in his 10 games played. Donte DiVincenzo, acquired in a separate trade with the Milwaukee Bucks, has averaged 8.8 points across nine games. 

With those additions, though, the Kings lost one of their best to the Pacers in Haliburton. Haliburton’s played his best basketball ever since the trade, putting up 18.6 points and over nine assists in 10 games as a Pacer. Without him, the Kings definitely are definitely weaker in the backcourt as they start Davion Mitchell, a strong defender who only averages 9.9 points per game on 40% from the field and 30.8% from three-point range.

MATCHUP OF THE NIGHT

The matchup to watch for in this game is likely Julius Randle versus Domantas Sabonis. Like aforementioned, Randle has been playing a brand of basketball more reminiscent of that which he introduced New York to last season. He has really turned a leaf over the past month and is looking more confident on the floor in nearly every measure.

Sabonis is growing more comfortable in his new role with the Kings every day, having put up over 13 rebounds and six assists in his last five games. He’s showing an obvious chemistry with Fox and is quickly becoming the key player on the team. Sabonis is a proven multiple-tool player who just needs the right shooters and runners around him to succeed. His passing and rebounding knack has paid off with their new shooters like Holiday and DiVincenzo to go along with players like Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes.

PRIZEPICKS PICK OF THE NIGHT

The Knicks Wall’s exclusive partnership with PrizePicks presents the picks of the night. Tonight, we’re going with RJ Barrett’s “over” projected 35.5 points, rebounds, and assists combination along with Kings guard De’Aaron Fox’s, safe from the trade deadline, “over” projected 34.5 combined points, rebounds, and assists. Barrett is coming off five consecutive 20-plus-point outings and Fox has had an absolutely incredible stretch over the last month—28.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game since February 8th.

Use promo code “TKW” and take advantage of a 100% deposit match, up to $100, with The Knicks Wall’s partnership with PrizePicks.

Tonight’s contest is the easiest one the Knicks are presented with on their seven-game road trip and a great opportunity for them to get back into a rhythm following last night’s win. It’s up to them to build a lead and finally hold onto it to win to get that feeling back in them. Tip-off is at 10:30 p.m. ET from Golden 1 Center on MSG Networks and NBC Sports California.

 

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