Kings (14-54) at New York (28-39)
Scoring: Kings 13th (99.66), Knicks fourth (105.8)
Shooting: Kings 26th (44.6 percent), Knicks 28th (44.4)
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (108.5), Knicks 29th (108.5)
Shooting defense: Kings 29th (48.1 percent), Knicks 28th (48.1)
Rebound differential: Kings 30th (minus-5.42), Knicks 27th (minus-3.94)
The link: Knicks coverage in the the New York Times, The New York Post , Newsday, and the New York Daily News. Kings coverage in The Bee (Story on Rashad McCants, notes)
The almanac: On this date in 1976, John Havlicek of the Boston Celtics became the first NBA player to score more than 1,000 points per season for 14 consecutive years. On this date in 1990, the Los Angeles Lakers retired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's jersey No. 33 in honor of the NBA's all-time leading scorer. On this date in 1998, Karl Malone moved past Elvin Hayes (27,313) for fifth place on the NBA's all-time scoring list.
We're trotting out the all-stars this morning for the "Kings Weekly Rap" at 11 a.m. Pacific as Ailene Voisin and Marcos Breton will field your questions about Kings/arena issues/NBA etc. and maybe even debate a bit on their own. Go to www.sacbee.com/live a few minutes before 11 to take part.
Also, I'll be Twittering during the game again on my page. I already threw up a relevant update, as Andres Nocioni (right quad tendinitis) and Rashad McCants (right ankle) are out tonight. Kevin Martin is back from a one-game absence (virus).
In this season of rock bottom re-invention, with the Kings about to see if they can avoid going 0-29 against the Eastern Conference tonight or at least a historic 0-30 against Philadelphia on Sunday, they have had more than their share of "It could get worse" moments. It can always get worse. And so far for this team, it typically has.
But tonight's tilt against the Knicks offers a rare moment of "It could be worse." No, really. It could. They could have Danilo Gallinari instead of Jason Thompson.
While the Kings rookie forward taken No. 12 overall last June continues to play like a viable member of their future blueprint club, the Knicks' Italian small forward who was taken sixth may need back surgery that would end his disappointing rookie season. In the months that led to the 2008 draft, there was always a sense from the Kings' front office folks that picking 12th was just late enough that all the good ones would be gone by the time they were up. Gallinari, specifically, was always the name that arose when they lamented how the top-tier talent simply wouldn't fall that far.
If he had, Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie might have been the one having to defend his decision rather than Donnie Walsh. The Knicks president is standing by the choice, saying he's confident the 20-year-old will reach his potential eventually. The Kings know a bit about being patient with 20-year-olds (see: Spencer Hawes), so he could very well be right. But in the here and now, in this Kings season in which so very little has qualified as positive, it could certainly have been worse if the Italian Stallion had come to Sacramento. - Sam Amick