When the Kings faced off against the Pistons back on January 22, the season looked to be over. It seemed like the franchise had hit a new low as they were blown out by a Drummond, Griffin, and Kennard-less Pistons team.
After that night, they had lost six straight and found themselves 5.5 games back of the eighth seed. All hope for the season was filing out the door. But things quickly changed.
A switch was flipped and the Kings have been on a tear ever since that cold January night in Detroit. They have won 11 out of their last 16 and are a dazzling 5-1 since the All Star break.
When the Kings faced the Pistons once again yesterday afternoon, they were not about to face the same fate as they did a little over a month ago.
Even after starting the game on a bad note and trailing by 20 at one point in the first quarter, the Kings clawed their way back into the game and finished on top with a W. It was an important win and it keeps the Kings alive in what will go down as a close playoff race.
As of today, the Spurs, Pelicans, and Kings all sit just three games behind the Grizzlies for the eighth and final playoff seed. With the Grizzlies ending the season with the third toughest schedule, these three teams have the perfect opportunity to snag the eighth seed, yet only one can come out on top.
New Orleans looks like the team to beat out of the four teams vying for the last spot. They have looked exceptional ever since Zion made his debut, plus they end the season with the third easiest schedule.
As NBA fans know everywhere, you can never count out San Antonio. The Popovich-led Spurs have not missed the postseason for 22 consecutive seasons, and even though they don’t have the fire power that they once did, thinking they don’t have what it takes to make the playoffs is a sign of naivety.
However, the Kings are arguably the hottest out of these teams, winning 7 out of their last 10 and beating Memphis twice in two of those games. Sacramento has a little something to prove, a chip on their shoulder if you will, as they are not a team known to play much basketball after the 82nd game.
The Kings have finished playing the Grizzlies at this point in the season, taking the series three games to one, and face the Spurs and Pelicans two more times each. The Kings will face each team once at home and once on the road.
These will be must win games for the Kings although they will be no easy task. The Spurs and Pelicans will play with great tenacity and those games look to preview a playoff atmosphere.
In upcoming games, the Grizzlies play a bad Hawks teams tonight while the Spurs play a good Pacers team.
On Tuesday, the Kings need to win an easy one against the Wizards while the Spurs play the second of a back to back against the Hornets and the Pelicans play the new-look Timberwolves with D’Angelo Russell.
The race for the eighth seed will go down to the wire. The Kings have shown they have what it takes to grab it from the Grizzlies and outlast the Spurs and Pelicans. Every game counts from now on, so let’s start with an easy one tomorrow night.