Kings take ‘Greene’ light from the perimeter
SACRAMENTO – Criticized as an immature player following a poor rookie season, Donte Greene is starting to become a difference maker for the Sacramento Kings.
Greene enjoyed his most productive NBA game Wednesday night, making six 3-pointers and tying a career high with 24 points in helping the Kings lead from start to finish in a 111-97 victory over the New York Knicks.
Greene declared for the NBA draft following one season at Syracuse University. It looked like a mistake to many when Greene played sparingly a year ago, averaging 3.8 points for the NBA’s worst team and shooting 32 percent.
After spending the early season this year on the bench, injuries and illness have given Greene playing time and he’s produced. He also scored 24 points in an earlier game and has averaged 20.3 in his three starts.
“I hope this game showed a lot of Syracuse fans why I left early,” Greene said. “This was my dream, playing in the NBA. But I caught heck for leaving college early.”
Greene certainly made a statement for increased playing time, doing more than just making shots. He had career highs of six blocks and five assists. Greene hit all five shots in the third quarter, including three 3-pointers as the Kings outscored New York 32-22.
“We knew he (Greene) can shoot,” Robinson said. “But some of the shots he made, we’re like ‘Whoa, there goes another dagger.”‘
Rookie Tyreke Evans had 19 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for youthful Sacramento, which snapped a four-game losing streak. It was the first time in eight games that the rookie from Memphis failed to score 20 or more. He left the game with 3:11 remaining and the Kings comfortably in front.
“I knew I had 19 points and was trying to do everything I could to get a triple-double,” said Evans, who was nursing a sore ankle. “I’m not disappointed, I understand where coach was coming from.”
David Lee had 25 points and 12 rebounds for the struggling Knicks. Nate Robinson also scored 25 points and Al Harrington added 17 for New York, which shot 38 percent.
The Knicks settled for far too many 3-pointers throughout the game and defensively allowed the Kings to dominate inside, while also leaving the Kings open for perimeter shots.
Leading by 10 points at the half, the Kings built the margin to 93-73 with an impressive third quarter and the lead remained in double figures the rest of the game.
“It just all went down hill from the beginning,” Knicks guard Chris Duhon said. “They knocked down shots and we weren’t able to rebound. It’s tough. We keep putting ourselves in these positions where every shot is so important because we are down by so much.”
Spencer Hawes scored 16 points and Sergio Rodriguez had 15 for the Kings, who recorded a rare win at home over an Eastern Conference team. Sacramento had lost 18 straight dating to a victory over Toronto on March 16, 2008.
The loss was the third straight and ninth in 11 games for the Knicks, who are off to their worst start since the 1985-86 season.
Injured in Tuesday’s game against the Lakers, Eddy Curry missed the game with a sore left knee. Curry, who played in only three games for a total of 11 minutes last year due to injury, had played in the previous four games.
Hawes scored 13 points in the first half, helping the Kings to a 61-51 lead. Both Robinson and Lee scored 15 points for the Knicks, who shot 36 percent and missed 15 of 20 3-pointers.
Notes: Kings point guard Beno Udrih was sick and didn’t play. … The Knicks shot 10 of 39 from 3-point territory. … Sacramento is now 5-2 at home.
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