SACRAMENTO – Down the stretch with Carmelo Anthony unable to carry the offense like he did the previous three quarters, the Knicks benefitted from a blown layup from DeMarcus Cousins.
The Kings center missed the gimme that would’ve given Sacramento a one-point lead with 21 seconds remaining, and the Knicks were lucky that Sacramento’s two potential game-tying 3-point attempts fell just short in the final seconds of a 103-100 win on the Kings’ home court.
Phil Jackson may want Anthony to pass quicker. But for most of Friday, the Knicks looked best with the ball in the All-Star’s hands.
With Kristaps Porzingis continuing his shooting slump and Derrick Rose inactive with a back injury, Anthony went off for 33 points on 22 shots. But he stalled in the fourth quarter, missing all five of his field goal attempts and two free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining that gave Cousins a chance to tie with his more-than-halfcourt heave at the buzzer.
The Kings (8-14) couldn’t convert or capitalize, however, and the Knicks (13-10) never trailed after Joakim Noah hit two free throws with 2:09 remaining. Noah was fouled on purpose because of his struggles from the line.
Anthony and Joakim Noah defend DeMarcus Cousins.
The victory kicked off a five-game road trip against the Western Conference for the Knicks.
“We got some really good closers,” Noah said. “Carmelo is one of the best closers in the game. I think we could have done better but overall it was a great way to start the road trip.
“It felt good to make ’em, clutch,” Noah said of his late free throws. “Just gotta stay positive and keep working.”
Porzingis, who finished with 17 points, missed nine of his first 10 attempts and shot 6-of-19 overall. In his last five games, Porzingis is shooting just 32 percent.
Brandon Jennings starts at point guard in place of Derrick Rose.
(Sergio Estrada/USA Today Sports)
Rose missed his second straight game because of a back injury sustained Tuesday. Brandon Jennings started in his place and struggled while committing four turnovers in 39 minutes. Without a third point guard on the roster, Sasha Vujacic logged nine minutes as the backup.
New York clearly missed Rose, who said he no longer is experiencing spasms and expects to play Sunday against the Lakers. He said the back pain originated from a problem in his groin. He participated in a light walkthrough before Friday’s game.
“It’s tightness and getting used to moving around again. When you have back problems or back spasms, any little move can trigger it,” he said. “So it’s about patience, stretching, making sure I get treatment.”
For Memphis, Cousins scored 28 points on 9-of-25 shooting. Matt Barnes did not dress but Dave Joerger stressed the decision was strictly to rest and not a disciplinary action after the forward was involved in an altercation at a Manhattan night club last week.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News