The Sacramento Kings had a chance to move back up within three games of the eighth seed last night hosting Philadelphia at home. The Sixers, the current owner of the fifth seed in the East, not only came into the game with a 9-23 road record but they also arrived without Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Josh Richardson.
It seemed like a game the Kings could certainly win, especially with their red hot play as of late. However, throughout last night, the game wasn’t very close. Even with fourth quarter theatrics from some Buddy and Bogi long balls, the Kings could only come within six, ultimately losing by 17.
With the loss, the Kings moved to four games back of the Grizzlies and share 10th place with the San Antonio Spurs. The Portland Trailblazers are a half game ahead of Sacramento while the Pelicans sit a full game behind the Kings.
It will be a big week for Walton’s squad and the results of the next three games will have a huge impact on whether the Kings are still in the playoff hunt.
It all starts tomorrow night against a Portland team that is currently in ninth place and just got their star, Damian Lillard, back from injury. That’s obviously bad news for the Kings, but they cannot let themselves succumb to the same fate as the game against Philly. It might help in Sacramento’s favor that the Trailblazers play tonight, as the team will be tired in the second game of a back to back.
On Sunday, the Kings host the 2019 NBA Champions and current owners of the second seed in the East, the Toronto Raptors. It’s hard to imagine Sacramento winning this game, but the Kings have given us surprises all season, so you can never count them out.
Then on Wednesday, the Kings play their only ESPN game of the year at home against another hungry team, the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans are looking to dethrone the Grizzlies themselves, and Sacramento has to do what they can to slow down a solid Pelicans team.
It will be Zion’s first game in California’s capital and the lights will be on him in a nationally televised game. The Kings have to avenge their earlier season loss to the Pelicans at home or face descending in the standings significantly.
The Kings have their hands full over the next three games, but it doesn’t get any easier after that. Their schedule after facing the Pelicans goes Nets, Mavericks, Rockets, Magic, Pelicans. That’s four playoff teams on top of a playoff-seeking Pelicans team once again.
This is where the Kings need to brush the dust off their showing against Philly and show they have what it takes to be one of the better teams in the league.
History shows that the Kings have trouble amounting to a high level, and even last season’s late collapse proved that once again. All we can do is hope they pull up their big-boy pants and prove everybody wrong.