KINGS 106 KNICKS 105 | SLEEP TRAIN ARENA
How it happened:
Ironically, the Knicks fell victim to a buzzer-beater just two nights after J.R. Smith provided the game-winner in Phoenix.
James Johnson drilled a 3-pointer as the game clock expired to hand the Kings a 106-105 victory in Sacramento on Friday night.
The Knicks opened the third quarter on a 7-2 run when Chris Copeland sent a lob pass to a streaking Tyson Chandler for a two-handed dunk. More than four minutes later, Smith connected on a spinning layup off the glass and completed the old-fashioned 3-point play. Steve Novak then buried a couple of treys (nine points in the third quarter) to help outscore the Kings 23-14 with 2:51 remaining in the period.
Smith concluded the impressive and resilient effort on a step-back signature jumper from the elbow to deplete the advantage to six points heading into the final stanza.
Momentum clearly on the Knicks side, Jason Kidd added fuel to the fire by dropping a 3-ball at the 7:25 mark of the fourth quarter. He then found Chandler for an alley-oop dunk and subsequently sunk a 3-pointer to give New York a 97-95 lead two minutes later.
The Knicks held a 105-103 lead with 33 seconds left in the contest, but the squad missed an opportunity to turn it into a two possession game. A crazy sequence of events caused the ball to bounce out to Johnson and he quickly launched the game-winner.
New York just missed a chance to set the franchise record for largest comeback. After a 32-point first quarter, the Kings exploded in the second with 39 points while shooting a blistering 16-of-21 from the floor and 6-of-8 behind the arc. Sacramento gained significant separation when it posted a 12-0 run over a four-minute time span in the second period.
Carmelo Anthony did not suit up due to a hyper-extended leg, Raymond Felton was out with a fractured pinky, and Rasheed Wallace was unavailable with a sore foot.
New York fell to 21-9 and the Kings improved to 10-19 on the season.
Smith delivered another strong offensive performance while Anthony remained on the sidelines. The sixth man sunk 11-of-25 shots from the floor, grabbed seven boards, and dished out five assists in the loss.
The Knicks jumped on a plane back to New York and will have a day off before returning to the practice floor on Sunday afternoon.