February 25th versus the New York Knicks (140-121 Knicks).
The very first possession of the game sees new Knick Derrick Rose and RJ Barrett play hand-offs until Rose exploits the lane left open by a confused De’Aaron Fox on a double P&R.
A P&R is a tough play to defend against because the offensive team has so many options; they could choose to have the roll man cut to the hoop for a bucket, the P&R ball-handler could shoot if the defender goes under the screen, and it can be used as a bait-and-switch to either pass to an open shooter or find a cutting player to the basket.
Rose continued to cook early on in the game, starting out six for six. There isn’t much the Kings could have done better to deter him. But when it wasn’t Rose hitting numerous tough shots, it was Randle bullying multiple Kings defenders in the paint. At 1:56, he spins around the post-up on Bagley, and Haliburton abandons his man to help, but poor positioning and footwork by Bagley allows Randle to easily drop it in.
On the next play, Randle flashed his newfound shooting abilities by dropping a tough middie over Holmes. Immanuel Quickley seemed to be inspired by Rose’s hot start as he started out four for four as well, including an impressive triple-and-one with just a second left in the first.
This game commonly had me thinking that the Kings need to scrap their current interior defensive gameplan and start anew. The clip at 3:58 has DaQuan Jeffries defending a post-up attempt from Obi Toppin and doing a bang-up job of it; he’s not letting Toppin cut to the middle of the floor or back him down in the paint. But when Toppin spins to put up a shot attempt, Bagley moves in to, I guess, help contest an already-contested shot?
No one slides down to box out Taj Gibson, and this allows him to clean up the rebound and finish with ease. In the next clip, Gibson and RJ Barrett play a little P&R, but Hield doesn’t switch away from Barrett, leaving Gibson wide open in the lane for an easy layup. The Knicks rode these easy baskets to cruise to a 19-point win, spiraling the Kings to a nine-game losing streak and a record of 12-20.