The Sacramento Kings are enduring their longest slide of the season after being on the receiving end of a spectacular shooting display in their latest defeat.
The Kings are in danger of allowing another scoring barrage with Carmelo Anthony expected back for the New York Knicks on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
Sacramento (16-27) has lost six straight for the first time since a seven-game skid from Jan. 22-Feb. 1 of last year. The Kings had little chance of ending the skid against Golden State on Friday once Klay Thompson took over and put up 37 points in the third quarter of the Warriors’ 126-101 win. Thompson set NBA records for points and 3-pointers (9) in a quarter and finished with 52 points while connecting on 11 of 15 from long range.
"I mean, the ball was barely touching his fingertips and he was releasing it. It’s pretty hard to stop something like that," said Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, who had 28 points, 11 rebounds and three steals.
The Kings are among the league’s worst defensive teams, giving up an average of 104.3 points on the season, including 107.8 over their last six games. They’ve surrendered 110.9 points per game while dropping four of the past seven meetings with New York (8-37), though they beat the Knicks 135-129 in overtime at home Dec. 27.
Sacramento, though, has struggled to contain Anthony, who has scored 36 points in each of the past three meetings. The All-Star forward added 11 rebounds in December and wound up four assists shy of a triple-double.
He’s slated to be back after resting his sore left knee Saturday while New York shot 35.4 percent in a 76-71 loss to Charlotte that ended a three-game win streak. Anthony was averaging 25.3 points over the previous four games after missing six with knee trouble.
It’s unclear if the Knicks will have starting point guard Jose Calderon back after he missed a game with a sore knee of his own. He’s averaging 9.2 points, but has put up 12.0 over the past six meetings with Sacramento.
If Calderon is out, Tim Hardaway Jr. is likely to start after he had a season-high 25 points to go with six rebounds and five assists Saturday. He scored 19 against the Kings in December.
Cousins poured in 39 points while pulling down 11 boards in that meeting, and he had 19 and 15, respectively, in a 106-101 overtime win at MSG on Feb. 12.
The center is among the league leaders with 12.6 rebounds per game, and he’s grabbing 13.9 off the glass while scoring 26.4 points over his past seven games.
While Cousins is doing his part, Rudy Gay is looking to remain on the court. The forward was scoreless in 12 minutes before getting ejected on two technical fouls Friday.
Gay was averaging 24.3 points on 48.1 percent shooting over the three prior games after missing one with a knee sprain. He connected on 12 of 21 shots from the field while scoring 29 points against the Knicks on Dec. 27.