Knicks try to put ugly loss behind them, visit Kings

( - There are four quarters to a basketball game.

The New York Knicks know this, but have been victimized by one particular period during their two-game slide.

The Knicks will try to put a full 48 minutes together when they continue a crucial five-game western road trip Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings.

New York had an eight-game winning streak fall short in Sunday's 106-100 loss to Cleveland at Madison Square Garden and a decisive fourth quarter (29-16) put the celebration on hold. The Knicks then opened the western jaunt with Tuesday's 127-96 setback to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Heading into the second quarter down 22-14, the Lakers came alive in front of former head coach and new Knicks team president Phil Jackson by scoring 36 of the 56 points to take the lead for good.

It got worse from there for the Knicks.

Los Angeles lit up the visitors with a 51-31 performance in the third quarter and took a comfortable 101-73 cushion into the final period. The Lakers led by as many as 30 late in the third stanza and the 51 points scored in the quarter were a franchise record. It was also the worst defensive quarter in the history of the Knicks.

"We haven't given up 51 points (in a quarter) since I've been here," New York head coach Mike Woodson said. "That's unacceptable. We can't let games slip away."

L.A. shot 57.8 percent and piled it on the Knicks with 18-of-28 3-pointers. It's bench also had an 82-21 advantage over New York's.

Carmelo Anthony led New York with 29 points and nine rebounds, while rookie Tim Hardaway, Jr. scored 17 off the bench. The Knicks had won four in a row on the road and fell to 13-21 as the visitor. They will also make stops in Phoenix, Golden State and Utah, and are three games behind Atlanta for the last playoff spot in the East with 11 to play.

The Kings will close out a four-game homestand Wednesday and have wins over Washington and Milwaukee with a loss to San Antonio sandwiched in between.

In Sunday's 124-107 bouncing of the Bucks, DeMarcus Cousins led the way with 32 points on 14-of-19 shooting and also pulled down 12 rebounds. Cousins has a record seven straight double-doubles and 10 in the last 11 games, posting an average of 22.3 points and 13.2 rebounds over the stretch.

Cousins helped the Kings to a 39-16 lead after one quarter.

"We came out, I'd say we hit them in the mouth early and kind of put the game away. Even with that being said, that second half, it was terrible," said Cousins.

Sacramento may have taken the foot off the gas pedal because Milwaukee scored 37 of the 57 points in the fourth quarter, but it still improved to 15-20 as the host this season and 9-5 against the East at Sleep Train Arena.

Isaiah Thomas scored 30 points versus the Bucks and Rudy Gay netted 24. Thomas, who is listed as questionable Wednesday with a bruised right quadriceps, has scored 20 or more points in five of his last six games (24.2 ppg).

After hosting the Knicks, Sacramento will head south for three games against Oklahoma City, Dallas and New Orleans.

The Kings took a 106-101 overtime win from New York on Feb. 12 at the Garden, as Cousins posted 19 points and 14 rebounds. Anthony, the NBA's second-leading scorer with 28.1 ppg, had 36 points and 11 rebounds versus Sacramento.

New York has won three of the last five games in this series and is also 3-2 in the past five trips to California's capital city.