De’Aaron Fox scored a game-high 30 points Saturday afternoon and hit the go-ahead basket with 5:03 to play that gave the Sacramento Kings the lead for good in a 102-94 win over the host New York Knicks.
The Kings (33-32) overcame a 15-point first quarter deficit and survived squandering an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter to win the opener of a pivotal four-game Eastern Conference road trip. Sacramento, which hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006, entered Saturday four games behind the San Antonio Spurs in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Buddy Hield scored 19 points and Nemanja Bjelica had a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds) for the Kings. Harrison Barnes added 11 points while Willie Cauley-Stein pulled down 12 rebounds.
Dennis Smith Jr. scored 18 points and DeAndre Jordan posted a double-double (14 points, 15 rebounds) for the NBA-worst Knicks (13-53) who have lost five straight. Lance Thomas and Allonzo Trier each had 10 points.
Hield (five points) and Fox (four points) fueled a 12-0 run that ended the third quarter and gave the Kings a 80-68 lead, but the Knicks opened the fourth on a 21-7 run, a span that ended when they scored 11 straight points to take an 89-87 lead on Luke Kornet’s 3-pointer with 6:06 left.
Fox then scored the next nine points for the Kings during a run that ended when he converted an old-fashioned 3-point play to give Sacramento a 96-92 lead with 2:24 remaining.
Smith responded with a driving layup, but the Kings scored the game’s final six points to pull away.
The Knicks raced out to a 7-0 lead and opened up a 27-12 lead following a 15-3 run in which Smith scored 11 points. The Kings chipped away and tied the game for the first tie on a pair of free throws by Fox with 2:43 left in the second quarter and took their first lead on two free throws by Barnes 27 seconds later.