Distraction Ceased

With Stephon Marbury back with the team, the New York Knicks can get back to another pressing matter: Trying to win games.

With their star point guard having returned from a bizarre absence, the Knicks (2-5) continue a four-game road trip against the Sacramento Kings (2-6) on Friday looking to end a four-game losing streak.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Sacramento -2.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 199 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 61% of bets for this game have been placed on Sacramento -2.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Controversy swirled around Marbury this week after he left the Knicks and skipped Tuesday's game at Phoenix, only to fly to Los Angeles in time for New York's 84-81 loss to the Clippers on Wednesday.

Marbury didn't start, but scored 13 points.

"I'm positive all the way around. I'm covered. I'm fine. I feel good. I'm cool. I could walk with my head up,'' Marbury said. "I feel like I could go forward and do what I have to do. I have a job to do and that's exactly what I'm going to do.''

He was fined $182,000 for the transgression, and his relationship with Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, who Marbury reportedly said had given him permission to leave the team, appears to have cooled.

"Unfortunately, lessons in life have to be learned on a public stage," Thomas said. "He's a kid that made it out of Coney Island, and I think what I'm asking him to do, he's capable of doing. As I said to him before, if he can't do it, we'll have to find someone who can.''

The New York Times reported Thursday that Marbury spent several hours at a Coney Island housing project Tuesday after one of his childhood basketball coaches died suddenly.

The Knicks also had been missing leading scorer Zach Randolph after the power forward's grandmother died. Randolph returned Wednesday against the Clippers and scored 16 points while grabbing 19 rebounds, but he's expected to miss Friday's game for the funeral.

The Knicks haven't had much success even with their full lineup this season. They rallied from a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit to tie the Clippers with 1:41 left, but again stumbled late.

Marbury's 3-point try with 45 seconds left would have given the Knicks the lead, but the ball went in and out of the rim. He missed a driving layup with 19 seconds remaining and New York trailing 82-79 before making his next layup for New York's final points.

New York is shooting 41 percent during the four-game slide, including 27 percent on 3-pointers. The Knicks have turned the ball over at least 17 times in each of the four games.

"We just don't seem to have the grind right now to gut it out and get that win when we need it," Thomas told the team's official Web site. "For us right now, the unforced turnovers - we are having turnover situations that we just shouldn't have as a professional basketball team."

Things are going equally poorly for the Kings, whose only victories have come against Minnesota and Seattle - both one-win teams. Ron Artest scored 17 points in his return from a seven-game suspension Wednesday, but Sacramento was outrebounded 41-26 and lost 108-103 at Minnesota to give the Timberwolves their first win.

The Kings played without forwards Kenny Thomas (bruised shin) and Shareef Abdur-Rahim (sore knee).

"It seems like we're starting to get used to having players out and then come back," said guard Kevin Martin, who's among the league leaders with 26.4 points per game. "We can't use that as an excuse anymore."

If you ask Thomas, Marbury has run out of excuses. Due to earn $42 million over the next two years, Marbury is averaging 14.8 points and 6.3 assists, but has repeatedly clashed with his coach.

"I love all my players, just like my mother loved me, but sometimes she snatched me out of the park and had tough words for me and did some tough things to me,'' Thomas said. "... I believe he's capable of leading this team and he's capable of playing great defense. When I see those two things, I think our team can take another step in this league."

The Kings and Knicks split two meetings last season, each winning at home.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

More NBA Basketball Coverage from theSpread.com

 - NBA Basketball teams
 - NBA Basketball standings
 - NBA Basketball schedule
 - NBA Basketball scoreboard
 - NBA Basketball injuries
 - NBA Basketball matchups
 - NBA Basketball stats
 - NBA Basketball odds
 - NBA Basketball public betting chart
 - NBA Basketball news wire
 - NBA Basketball top stories
 - NBA Basketball trends
 - AccuScore NBA Basketball predictions
 - Expert NBA Basketball picks
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - NBA Basketball Home

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Celtics improving Finals odds The Boston Celtics are showing signs that they want to be in the hunt to win the NBA Finals next season. Do oddsmakers feel the Celtics are...
Thumbnail Warriors re-sign Curry, Iguodala The Golden State Warriors are committed to keeping their championship team together. The team re-signed a number of players last week to improve their odds to...
Thumbnail Paul George joins the Thunder The Oklahoma City Thunderwon the Paul Georgesweepstakes last week. How has this impacted the team’s ability to win the NBA...
Thumbnail Rockets improve Finals odds After making a big splash this week, are the Houston Rockets making a push to win the 2018 NBA Finals?
Thumbnail Updated NBA Finals Odds After a busy week with the NBA Draft taking place, which team improved their odds to win the 2018 NBA Finals?

NBA Headlines

  • CLEVELAND (AP) Derrick Rose has signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who now have a possible replacement for Kyrie Irving.
    Rose is getting a one-year, $2.1 million contract from the Cavaliers...
  • AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) The Detroit Pistons have signed Luis Montero to a two-way contract.
    The team announced the deal Monday. The 6-foot-7 Montero played 49 games last season for the Sioux...
  • CLEVELAND (AP) A person familiar with the decision says free agent Derrick Rose has agreed to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
    Rose, a former league MVP who has battled knee injuries, will ...
  • SAN ANTONIO (AP) The San Antonio Spurs have signed Pau Gasol to a three-year contract.
    The Spurs announced the signing on Monday. Gasol opted out of the two-year deal he signed last summer to...
  • CLEVELAND (AP) The Cavaliers have named Koby Altman their full-time general manager.
    Altman's promotion had been expected for days and was made official on Monday. The 34-year-old has been se...

NBA Team Pages