Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

December 31, 2011
Kings-Knicks pre-game: Harrellson to start

The Knicks will start Josh Harrellson in place of Amar'e Stoudemire.

Stoudemire sprained his ankle in the Knicks' loss to the Lakers on Thursday.

Harrellson (6-10, 275), a rookie out of Kentucky, has averaged 9.7 minutes in the Knicks' first three games.

No injuries to report for the Kings.

* John Salmons will likely start out defending the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, coach Paul Westphal said. That might change if Anthony plays more power forward tonight in the absence of Stoudemire.

* While the Kings hurt themselves on defense and at the free-throw line in their loss to the Chicago Bulls, they also scored 98 points against a team regarded one of the league's best on defense. Asked if there was progress made in that game on the offensive end, forward-center Chuck Hayes answered: "Yeah, I think so.

"I think we were aggressive, as you can see in the free-throw attempts," Hayes said. "If the ball wasn't moving, somebody was always attacking the rim, which is fine. As long as you're getting something to the basket it's good. I think the offense made some strides."

Five Kings players had double-digit shot attempts in that game, and all five finished with double-digit points. That kind of equality doesn't always have to be the case, coach Paul Westphal said, but it can help keep defenses from keying on one or two players on the floor.

"You can have a balanced team and have one person take a lot of shots if that's what the defense gives," Westphal said. "The beauty of a balanced team is a lot of times it can be a pick-your-poison thing for the defense. There's an opportunity for everybody on our team to get shots if we're functioning properly."

Forward John Salmons, who had 12 points against the Bulls, said the Kings are "starting to learn how to play off each other a little bit more."

"But it's not where we want to be yet," he added.

* Dusty Baker, the former San Francisco Giants manager and a longtime Kings fan, was seen chatting with Walt Frazier before the game. Frazier, the former Knicks great, is now an analyst on Knicks TV broadcasts.

-- Matt Kawahara

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