Rapid Reaction: Knicks 107, Kings 99

The Knicks keep inching closer to the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

New York moved to within two games of Atlanta for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East after beating the Sacramento Kings by eight on Wednesday night.

The Knicks have 10 games to play. Nine of their final 10 games come against teams with records over .500. So it won’t be easy to make up the gap.

The Hawks, however, are in a tailspin. Atlanta has lost four straight.

So if the Knicks can continue to play like they did against the Kings, they might make things interesting.

J.R. sets mark: J.R. Smith set a Knicks single-game record with nine 3-pointers. His hot shooting helped bail out New York again and again in the fourth quarter.

New York was up by 24 at one point, but the lead was cut to four with 6:41 to play. Smith knocked down a 3 to give the Knicks some breathing room. The Knicks' lead was down to two with 4:30 to go when Smith knocked down another 3.

The Knicks’ shooting guard finished with 29 points and his 9-of-12 3-point shooting effort.

Melo fellow: Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 36 points. He hit nine of his first 14 shots and finished 12-for-21. Anthony hit 5-of-8 3-point attempts. The Knicks as a whole finished a blistering 58 percent from beyond the arc and 55 percent from the field.

The Knicks started the game shooting 11-for-15, and Smith hit his first five to finish with 14 points in the first quarter.

Boogie’s night: DeMarcus Cousins gave Tyson Chandler, Cole Aldrich and the rest of the Knicks’ interior defenders all they could handle. The Sacramento center finished with 32 points, 15 rebounds and a season-high eight assists.

Point guard Isaiah Thomas was out, so Sacramento turned to Ray McCallum. The backup missed his first nine shots and finished 3-for-14 from the field.

What’s next: The Knicks will face the Suns in Phoenix on Friday.

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