TI at kings game
Hip Hop royalty Clifford “T.I.” Harris Jr. and his wife singer-songwriter Tameka “Tiny” Cottle-Harris enters Sleep Train Arena to see the Sacramento Kings take on the New York Knicks on Dec. 10. (OBSERVER photo by Antonio R. Harvey)

NORTH NATOMAS – The Sacramento Kings squeaked out a victory by beating the New York Knicks 99-97 in front of a sellout crowd and a nationally televised game by TNT on Dec. 10.

DeMarcus Cousins lead the Kings (9-15) with 27 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Rajon Rondo continued his thrilling play by adding 16 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds for the Kings.

The Kings are now 7-7 at home and won the last two games on their court. The Kings, who won’t play again until Dec. 15, have won the last three meetings against the Knicks (10-14).

The Kings were up by 19 points in the game, but allowed the Knicks to stage a comeback in the fourth quarter after ending the third quarter with an 11-point margin.

“As much as I was excited about the Utah win I’m probably, right now, a little disappointed in how we successfully initiated the win,” said Kings coach George Karl. “Sometimes we don’t understand the value of solid basketball and smart basketball.”

Carmelo Anthony had 23 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists for the Knicks while Arron Afflalo added 14 points and four rebounds. Rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis had 13 points, seven rebounds, and two assists for the Knicks. Cousins made the rookie work all night in the paint.

“Cousins is one of the best big man in the league. He was physical. Everything I expected,” Porzingis said following the game. “He’s is a good center. It’s just really hard to stop a player like that and I was trying to do whatever I could to stop him a little bit.”

Omri Casspi finished with 11 points and eight rebounds while Darren Collison had 16 points off the bench for the Kings. The Kings are 2-1 in games decided by three points or less and 4-5 in games decided by six points.

“It’s good to put some wins together,” Collison said. “We know we came off a good win against Utah. We had a little bit of a breakdown but for the most part we played with a lot of energy.”

Hip Hop artist Clifford “T.I.” Harris Jr. and his singer/songwriter wife Tameka “Tiny” Cottle-Harris attended the Kings/Knicks game and sat courtside with Sacramento’s owner Vivek Ranadive and local filmmaker Deon Taylor.