Coming off bad back-to-back losses at home, the New York Knicks might benefit from a road trip.
Starting it at Arco Arena isn’t the best way to fix things.
The Knicks begin the trip in a building where they haven’t won in seven years and against the NBA’s best home team this season as they face the Sacramento Kings.
“Our chemistry isn’t where it was four games ago. We have to get back there,” Knicks coach Lenny Wilkens said.
Wilkens’ team has dropped four of five, including losses at Madison Square Garden to sub-.500 teams in its last two outings. Following Friday’s 92-78 defeat to Utah, New York fell 92-86 to Cleveland on Sunday.
The latter of those losses was not as close as the final score. New York trailed by 23 points with seven minutes left.
“We didn’t decide to play until the last seven minutes of the game,” said Stephon Marbury, who shot 4-for-21 in the first three quarters before scoring 20 of his 30 points in a comeback attempt that fell short.
The matinee crowd booed the Knicks and chanted Keith Van Horn’s name, letting it be known they weren’t happy seeing the home team play so poorly.
“Eventually we will click,” Marbury said.
Marbury finished 13-for-34, while Penny Hardaway shot 2-for-13 and Thomas— the main player acquired a week earlier in the trade that sent Van Horn to Milwaukee—had just 10 points in 36 minutes. Mohammed was scoreless in 12 minutes.
New York will be hard-pressed to right itself in Sacramento.
Besides the Kings being a league-best 24-4 at home, the Knicks have lost six straight trips to Arco Arena since Feb. 20, 1997.
Sacramento has won six of seven overall, including a 96-81 victory at Toronto on Sunday to close a three-game road trip.
Peja Stojakovic scored 27 points and Mike Bibby had 21 for the Kings, who are the NBA’s highest-scoring team but had a season-low 39 points in the first half Sunday. They trailed Toronto, the league’s lowest-scoring team, by eight at halftime before Bibby got Sacramento going by scoring 12 points in the third quarter.
“It was because of the time difference,” Stojakovic said. “It was early in Sacramento. The start of game is usually when we wake up. It was just about energy. We approached the game kind of lax. We thought it was going to be easy.”
STANDINGS (through Feb. 22): Knicks - 2nd place, 9 1/2 GB, Atlantic Division. Kings - 1st place (tied), Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Knicks - Marbury, 21 ppg and 8.6 apg; Kurt Thomas, 8.7 rpg. Kings - Stojakovic, 25.3 ppg; Miller, 10.8 rpg; Divac, 5.9 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Knicks, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 7; Knicks, 114-111. At New York, Allan Houston scored 29 of his 39 points in the second half, and the Knicks overcame an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit. Stojakovic had 17 of his 36 points in the third quarter for the Kings.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Knicks - 10-16 on the road; Kings - 24-4 at home.