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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, December 31st (All times eastern)

New York Knicks (1-2) at Sacramento Kings (1-2), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Take the New York Knicks out of Gotham and all sorts of trouble arises. The Knicks hope to salvage the finale of a three-game western road trip when they visit the Sacramento Kings tonight.

The Knicks became the newest team in the NBA to sport a "Big Three" when they acquired center Tyson Chandler to play alongside superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. The debut of the trio was a positive one with a victory over rival Boston at Madison Square Garden, but New York has dropped the first two portions of its road trip against the Warriors and Lakers.

In Thursday's 99-82 loss to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, Anthony had 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Stoudemire, despite spraining his left ankle in the fourth quarter, added 15 points for the Knicks, who got 13 and 11 rebounds from Chandler. The Knicks shot just 31.3 percent from the field and were coming off a 40 percent shooting performance the night before in a 92-78 loss at Golden State.

"In the second half our defense was good but we couldn't hit shots," New York coach Mike D'Antoni said after New York's ninth straight loss to the Lakers.

New York, which made just 21-of-67 field goals, has lost five straight and 12 of 15 contests at the Lakers. It has lost three in a row on the road dating back to last season. Injured guard Baron Davis (back) is traveling with the team and is not expected to see action any time soon. His No. 85 jersey will be the highest jersey number worn by a Knick in a game.

Stoudemire, meanwhile, is questionable for Saturday's contest according to the team's website.

The Knicks will head home for two games against Toronto and Charlotte following their western trek.

Sacramento will continue a three-game homestand Saturday and has dropped two in a row since opening the truncated season with a 100-91 victory over the Lakers at ARCO Arena.

The Kings have dropped consecutive games to Portland and Chicago, and suffered a 108-98 setback to the Bulls Thursday night in the opener of the residency. Marcus Thornton netted a game-high 20 points and pulled down five boards, while Tyreke Evans had 19 points and DeMarcus Cousins contributed 15 and 12 rebounds for Sacramento, which made 42.2 percent of its shots and opened the game by missing 12 of 13 attempts from the floor.

Chicago had a 19-5 lead at one point in the opening quarter thanks to a 15-0 run following a 5-4 deficit. Kings rookie Jimmer Fredette scored 14 points -- a career high -- off the bench.

"The guys in our locker room have to decide to grow together during this incredibly difficult season that lies ahead," Kings head coach Paul Westphal said. "And then we'll see how good we can be."

Sacramento will close out the homestand Sunday versus New Orleans. Nine of the first 10 games for the Kings are against teams that made the playoffs last season. Cousins has recorded double-doubles in each of the three games.

The Kings and Knicks split a pair of meetings a year ago. Sacramento has won 11 of the past 15 meetings in this series, while New York has lost 11 of 14 and 12 of its last 16 contests in California's capital.

12/31 10:44:42 ET


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