After shocking the league with a nine-game win streak to surge up the Eastern Conference standings, the Knicks were stunned on Tuesday night by the lowly Hornets to halt their season-best heater.
Things won’t get any easier on Thursday against the Kings, who have quietly been one of the NBA’s best teams over the past two months.
In early January, Sacramento sat just two games above .500 and clinging to the West’s fifth seed.
Knicks vs. Kings prediction
(10 p.m. ET)
Since then, the Kings have boasted the league’s fourth-best record (18-8) and net rating (+5.4) behind the NBA’s most efficient offense — generating a stellar 123.3 points per 100 possessions with top marks in true shooting (63.3 percent) and assist-turnover rate (2.14).
Much of the credit belongs to star big man Domantas Sabonis, who has averaged 19 points and 12.2 rebounds on 60.8 percent shooting during this 26-game run.
But the real catalyst has been former All-Star guard De’Aaron Fox, who is one of just five players to average at least 28 points and seven assists since Jan. 7.
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The Knicks have been sizzling, obviously, but four of those nine wins came against teams without a winning record — and that doesn’t include two wins against the stripped-down Nets.
The one-two punch of Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle has been potent lately, but Brunson has missed the past two games with a foot injury, and I’ll take Fox and Sabonis at home with a rest advantage, to boot.
Knicks vs. Kings pick
Kings (-3.5, FanDuel)