The Knicks take home court once again, finishing the stretch of home games for them with one more left after this. Attempting to rebound from a loss to the Warriors, the 15-17 Knicks are looking for a win against the 12-19 Sacramento Kings, a task easier said than done. Although the Kings are on an eight game losing streak, the Knicks should not go into this game against them lightly whatsoever. The Kings have star power such as De’Aron Fox and Marvin Bagley taking the floor, which could cause some potential mismatches. They also have center Hassan Whiteside, who may or may not dominate Taj and Nerlens in the paint. The Knicks are looking to surpass the Celtics and Heat to gain the 8th spot in the Eastern playoffs, while the Kings are trying to stay relevant, battling out of the 12th spot in the West. The Knicks are an odd team, can win or lose any game they participate in, but I do expect us to win this game for sure, we just need to key in and dominate like I know we can. I have my usual three keys to win, but I also want to mention some things we needs to try out in this game, especially if we go up big. My keys to win are contain De’Aron Fox, get Julius Randle the looks and type of offense he’s had all season, and score more efficiently than we have been all season.
De’Aron Fox is having a great season, averaging 22.5 PPG on almost 34 minutes per contest, and is a threat in any game. Most games the Kings have lost have been down the stretch and single digits, so containing their biggest offensive threat is a key move to win this game. I have faith in the defensive abilities of our guards Payton, Barrett, and even Ntilikina, but we need to step it into overdrive against an offensive monster like Fox. My second key to win for this game is just Julius Randle. It sounds silly, but Julius just needs to have a game that he is used to having and play like he has been, so Thibs odd rotations can relax this game, just let our NBA All-Star ball out. Lastly, our offense needs to score efficiently. We are in dead last in PPG for a team, but have decent shooting numbers. If we can just be more efficient and higher scoring, we can easily destroy this abysmal Kings team. I do have some other things we need to key in on, that being the play of one player in particular, Obi Toppin.
This should be the game we really let Obi Toppin run free. He should be playing 20+ minutes a game, but isn’t. If we get a huge lead, Obi should stay in the entire end of the game. It isn’t very often you see a lottery pick play as little as Obi has been, especially someone who was as prolific as Toppin was in college. I want to see Obi play 20+ tonight, even if we have to go smaller and have him play rotations at center next to Julius Randle, or small forward. Against a team that we should dismantle and I expect us to, Obi NEEDS to get his chance to shine tonight. If Obi gets below fifteen minutes this game I’m going to be quiet upset and confused, but at the end of the day, I’ll take the win. Some other things that need to happen is if RJ is playing how he has been and it is a close game, put IQ in. Worst comes to worst he does as bad as RJ is doing, it’s quality time for the rookie and it is needed in his development. If it is a close game and RJ is playing bad, try and let him shoot and play out of it. I’m not opposed to letting him play out of this slump, but as I mentioned in my article talking about the postgame of the Knicks Warriors game, it can’t be to the point where he loses confidence. I have hope for RJ and I really hope he has a bounce back game against the Kings, but as always, go Knicks!