Knicks-Kings Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 27, 2012
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While missing Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton did not hurt the New York Knicks their last time out, not having DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans certainly had a negative effect on the Sacramento Kings. It's unclear who will be on the court for either team heading into Friday night's matchup in Sacramento. New York (21-8) won 99-97 at Phoenix on Wednesday as Anthony and Felton sat out. Anthony, who leads the Eastern Conference with 28.5 points per game, hyperextended his knee in Tuesday's 100-94 defeat to the Lakers and Felton fractured a finger. While Anthony's status for Friday is uncertain though his injury is not believed to be serious, Felton could be out for an extended period of time. Replacing them in the lineup Wednesday were Ronnie Brewer - he came off the bench Tuesday after starting the previous 27 games - and James White, who got his first start of the season. "Key guys get banged up here and there and we have enough guys on our team that guys just got to step up and play until guys get back," coach Mike Woodson said. "That's how it's got to be." Sacramento (9-19) was without Cousins and Evans in Wednesday's 109-91 loss at Portland. Cousins did not play despite having been reinstated after a one-game suspension for "unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team." Evans, averaging 15.1 points, missed his fifth straight game with a sore left knee and is listed as day to day. The volatile Cousins, suspended twice earlier this season by the NBA, leads the Kings with 16.6 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. James Johnson has totaled 14 points and seven boards starting the last two games in his place. "We just gotta roll with the punches," said guard Isaiah Thomas, who has scored in double figures in four straight games. "We know how to play without those two guys, we've been short-handed all year, I mean somebody's been out but we've got enough players who play well even without them - they're our two best players - we still have to bring it every night." The Knicks let a 14-point, second-half lead slip away Wednesday before getting clutch play from J.R. Smith, who hit a jumper to tie the game with 10.6 seconds left before his winning 21-footer at the buzzer. "I don't know whatever words you want to use but he loves that moment," teammate Jason Kidd said of Smith, who scored a season-best 27 points and is averaging 24.3 over the past four games. Kidd set a season high with 23 points and matched another with eight assists as he shouldered more of the load minus Felton, who is second on the team with 15.8 points per game. "He nearly had a triple-double tonight," Woodson said about Kidd. "Here he is almost 40 years old still playing like that. It's incredible. The Knicks are averaging a league-low 10.8 turnovers. They are second in the East in points per game (102.2) and 3-point shooting percentage (39.4). The Kings are allowing an average of 101.9 points for one of the league's worst marks. Both teams seem to favor 1-on-1 play since New York's 19.9 assists per game is the NBA's fourth-worst average while Sacramento's 19.3 is second-worst. New York swept two meetings with Sacramento last season by an average of 18.5 points, with Anthony missing one of them. Tyson Chandler helped limit a foul-plagued Cousins to an average of 12.0 points on 9-of-28 shooting. The Kings have won six of nine at home.
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