SACRAMENTO -- Learning at a morning shootaround that he would be making his first NBA start because teammate Amare Stoudemire was injured, New York Knicks rookie Josh Harrellson didn't have a lot of time to be nervous.And the rookie from Kentucky didn't show it, either.Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points and the Knicks got an unexpected 14 points and 12 rebounds from Harrellson in controlling the game early and cruising past the Sacramento Kings, 114-92 on Saturday night.The Knicks didn't miss starting forward Stoudemire, their leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, who sat out with a sprained left ankle. All five starters had 14 points or more for New York, which took a 14-point lead into halftime and the lead never dipped below double digits in the second half as the Knicks snapped a two-game losing streak.Tyson Chandler had 22 points and seven rebounds, and Landry Fields scored 21 points for the Knicks, who had struggled offensively in losing their previous two games, but had a season-high point total against the Kings. Toney Douglas had 17 points and eight assists, and Bill Walker added 11 points."When the ball is moving like that, you can see how successful we can be offensively," said Fields, discussing the Knicks' season-high 26 assists. "It's a very nice win. Hopefully it brings us momentum going into our next game (Monday at home against Toronto)."Harrellson connected on his first shot, a wide-open 3-pointer two minutes into the game. He added three more 3-pointers and clearly outplayed Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, his teammate for one season at Kentucky."I guarded him all season at practice, so I felt like I know DeMarcus' game," Harrelson said. "I thought I did a good job on my former teammate. I was trying to get him out of whack, get him out of his rhythm."There had been no rhythm offensively in the first three games for Harrellson, who had a combined three points and five rebounds in 29 minutes."It was very important for me to make that first shot and get my confidence going," Harrellson said. "They had to come out and guard me and that opened things up and left other people open."New York (2-2) used a 15-0 run in the opening quarter to take a 35-20 lead. Douglas scored nine points and had three of the Knicks' six 3-pointers."They were hitting big threes and executing and jumped on us and we were never able to crawl back in the game," Kings coach Paul Westphal said.Marcus Thornton had 14 points for the struggling Kings (1-3), who have lost three straight after defeating the Lakers at home to start the season. Both Jason Thompson and Tyreke Evans had 13 points. The Kings shot 35 percent from the field and made only 26 of 41 free throws.Sacramento plays a home game against New Orleans on New Year's night."This is a very disappointing loss because we had a very good practice (Friday), probably our best practice of the year," Kings forward Chuck Hayes said. "But we came out like we don't know how to carry it over. It's discouraging."With the Knicks getting contributions from many different players, Anthony was quiet early in the game and his first basket didn't come until he made a driving layup midway through the second quarter.Yet he still had 17 at halftime and the Knicks had a 14-point lead. A rested Anthony finished with seven rebounds and five assists in 33 minutes, including just a two-plus minute stint in the fourth with the win secured."Our team is starting to pick up things in the offense that if we continue to do it, we can be successful," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "When you have a Carmelo with an Amare, it tends to open the floor even more. When the ball moves, our younger guys can get more involved."With the Knicks ahead by 13 points entering the fourth quarter, Chandler scored eight points in the opening three minutes, including two three-point plays. Chandler's second one put New York ahead 88-70. The lead was 20 points or more for much of the fourth quarter.Chandler was in foul trouble and barely a factor in the first half, playing four minutes. However, the veteran center made all six free throws and had eight points in the third quarter in helping the Knicks take a 78-65 lead into the fourth."From the beginning of the game until the end, we just looked lost," Evans said. "We just play off our natural talent and that's how we get our points. It's terrible right now and we've just got to figure something out."Anthony scored 15 points and Harrellson had 11 in the opening half, when the Knicks led 56-42. The Kings shot 33 percent as their offensive problems continued.Notes: Knicks reserve forward Jared Jeffries missed his third straight game with a sore right calf. . The Chicago Bulls also had a 15-0 first-quarter run against the Kings in Thursday's game. . Free throws continue to be a problem for Evans, who has made 13 of 27 this season. . Knicks rookie center Jerome Jordan committed four fouls in his first seven minutes.
SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings continued their purge of veteran contracts Friday afternoon. NBC Sports California has confirmed that the team opted out of the second year of Arron Afflalo’s 2-year, $25 million deal. They will instead pay the shooting guard a $1.5 million buyout, saving $11 million and allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Afflalo, 31, posted 8.4 points and 2.0 rebounds in 25.9 minutes per game. The 10-year NBA veteran played in 61 games, including 45 starts for the Kings last season while shooting 41.1 percent from behind the arc.
The former UCLA star is the second Kings veteran to have his option declined, joining Anthony Tolliver in the ranks of unrestricted free agents. Both Rudy Gay and Langston Galloway have chosen not to exercise player options with the team as the franchise turns to a youth movement.
Garrett Temple and Kosta Koufos are the only remaining players players on the Kings’ roster with more than two years experience in the league. Sacramento will enter free agency with upwards of $55 million to spend in free agency once they sign their four rookies from Thursday evening’s NBA Draft.
SACRAMENTO -- The Kings had a big draft night. The kind of night that might turn a franchise around. They entered the evening with three picks, including two in the top 10. With their first selection, they filled the franchise’s biggest need when they drafted De’Aaron Fox and then they went to work.
Vlade Divac and his team of front office execs jumped on an early trade, dealing the No. 10 overall selection to the Portland Trail Blazers for No. 15 and No. 20. North Carolina’s Justin Jackson was too appealing to pass on, and like Fox, he fit a major position of need.
Sacramento came back with the 20th selection, taking one of the biggest risk/reward picks in the draft. Duke’s Harry Giles is playing on rebuilt knees, but before that, he was one of the top prospects in all of basketball. If he can stay healthy, the Kings may have drafted the biggest steal of the night.
They topped off the evening with the selection of Wooden and Naismith Award winner Frank Mason III with the 34th overall pick. The Kings entered the night without a single point guard and they ended it with two very exciting options.
“I’m very excited about the talent that we brought here tonight,” Divac said. “They’re going to just be an addition to what we’re trying to build here in the second half of the season.”
The Kings turned down overtures to move up to draft Fox. The 19-year-old speedster will step in and immediately compete for the starting point guard spot and he’s very excited to be a King.
“It’s just the vibe that I got when I was out there,” Fox told local Sacramento media via phone. “I felt like they really wanted me.”
John Calipari is known for his bevy of All-Star bigs throughout the league, but he’s also produced a long line of big-time guards. Sacramento is hoping that Fox can live up to the billing of other former Calipari guards like Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall. According to Divac, the Kings were so high on Fox, they would have taken him higher.
“Screaming,” Divac said about the reaction in the room to Fox falling in their lap. “It was a guy that we all loved and in some way, if we had the number 1 pick, he would’ve been our guy.”
“De’Aaron is our future,” Divac added.
Without a perfect fit at 10, Divac made an adjustment on the fly to add more assets. The decision to trade 10 for 15 and 20 was very similar to the last season when the Kings dealt the eighth overall pick for No. 13, 28 and the draft rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic. By splitting the pick in two, the Kings were able to land two talented pieces that mesh with the current roster build.
Jackson and Fox know each other well. The duo played AAU ball together and Fox says he considers Jackson an older brother. He is friends with Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere from their Kentucky connection.
“I feel like we can grow together,” Fox said of the Kings’ young core. “Of course, it’s going to take some time, but every franchise takes time.”
Fox is the jewel of the night and Jackson will compete for time at the wing, but Giles is the wildcard. The 19-year-old big can play the four and the five and has elite potential.
“I’m so excited he was there for us at the 20,” Divac said. “That kind of talent you can’t pass.”
The Kings have done their homework on Giles. The type of knee injury that he sustained is similar to former NBA players Danny Manning, Amaré Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin. Manning and Martin each played 15 years in the league and Stoudemire lasted 14 seasons before retiring in 2016. After meeting him in person in Sacramento and working him out, they are very confident that he will be able to overcome his injuries and have a successful career in the NBA.
Mason III will remind Kings fans of Isaiah Thomas, another undersized point guard that fell to the second round. The Kansas star posted 20.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds for the Jayhawks last season. He’s a hard-nosed leader that can jump out of the gym and will instantly become a fan favorite in Sacramento.
It’s a huge haul. Sacramento added two points guards, a wing and a big from some of the best basketball schools in the country. More than that, they added high character winners to a changing culture.
For the first time in a while, the Sacramento Kings have accumulated assets. They have hit the ground running in their attempted rebuild and for one night, they are the talk of the NBA.