1. On the second of a back-to-back, the Knicks battled throughout the contest against the Magic on Wednesday night. New York also missed its leading scorer for the game as Kristaps Porzingis did not dress due to a sprained left ankle and contused right elbow. The Knicks led at several points during the contest but Orlando managed to outlast the road team in a 112-99 victory. The Magic’s shooting efficiency was hard to overcome, considering it shot 53.8 percent from the floor and 46.4 percent behind the arc. New York returned home immediately after the game to prepare for the matchup against the Kings.
2. Two bright spots for the Knicks on Wednesday night were the performances of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Frank Ntilikina. Hardaway Jr. scored 11 of his game-high 26 points in the first quarter. He also snatched 11 boards to effectively record his first career double-double. The rookie, Ntilikina, dished out a career-high nine assists in just 22 minutes of court time.
3. Porzingis participated in Friday’s practice and looks good to go for tonight’s contest. Currently, Porzingis ranks No. 2 in points per game in the NBA (30.0) and No. 3 in blocks (2.30). The big man also set the franchise mark for the most points scored through 10 games and received Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors last Monday night.
4. The Knicks have established a strong home court presence through seven outings at Madison Square Garden. With a 5-2 record at MSG, New York is hitting nearly 50 percent from the floor, scoring 110.4 points, and boasting an offensive rating of 110.3.
5. This past summer, the Kings strategy was to mix the young draft picks with several respected veterans to guide the franchise towards the future. Sacramento drafted Kentucky speedster De’Aaron Fox, North Carolina standout Justin Jackson, and Harry Giles out of Duke. George Hill, Zach Randolph, and Vince Carter are part of the group of vets the Kings hope to mentor the young crew. Through 11 games, Sacramento owns a 3-8 overall record but the team has collected two consecutive victories heading into tonight’s tilt against New York. Two nights after knocking off the Thunder, the Kings narrowly defeated Philadelphia when Fox buried the go-ahead bucket on Thursday night. Zach Randolph leads the team in points per game (13.6), Fox in assists (5.5), and Willy Cauley-Stein in blocks (1.0). Carter is listed as doubtful with a kidney stone that kept him out of Thursday’s contest.