Kings

Crazy Kings Still in Play for Play-in Spot

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Color the Sacramento Kings unpredictable.

How do you figure out this Kings team?  They have had two nine-game losing streaks this year.  The Kings lost by 49 points to the Jazz a little more than a week ago, yet they are a combined 10-1 against the Lakers, Celtics, Mavericks and Nuggets!

The Kings win when they should lose…and they lose when they should win.

BEATING THE BIG BOYS

They had no De’Aaron Fox or Harrison Barnes, yet in back-to-back games the Kings beat the Lakers and then the Mavericks.  In that Lakers game, LA returned to full strength with both LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the floor.

Against Dallas, the Kings lost rookie-of-the-year-candidate Tyrese Haliburton midway thru the third quarter with a knee injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season.

FROM DESPAIR TO HOPE

Two weeks ago, the play-in tournament was a mirage for the Kings.  Fox, their star point guard, was sidelined for 10-14 days for health-and-safety protocols.  Barnes, their ever-steady veteran, was injured.  It was time for the team to turn to player development as they were closer to a top-five draft pick than they were of having any chance at the playoffs.

Well, I’m scratching my head because if there was ever a time when a fanbase would overlook losing, this was the time for the Kings.  Lose and their odds of getting a top-five pick improve.

So what do the Kings do?  They win seven of ten — including the last four in a row — all on the road, with a patchwork lineup.  All of a sudden the Kings are within shouting distance of the tenth and final playoff spot.

MR. “WRIGHT” GUY

With no Fox or Haliburton, the Kings turned to Delon Wright to play the point.  He’s been the “Wright” guy for the moment!

In the two games since Haliburton’s injury, Wright has been phenomenal with 13 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds, four steals and four blocks against Oklahoma City.

https://twitter.com/NBCSKings/status/1389773937421258754?s=20

Wright followed that up the next next night with 23 points, seven rebounds, six assists, six steals and one blocked shot against Indiana.

The defensive numbers really stand out because the Kings have been the worst defensive team in the league.  In the last three games, however, they have held opponents under 100 points, surrendering just 99 to both Dallas and OKC, then holding Indiana to 93.

BIG GAME TIME

The Kings now face their biggest game of the season Friday night at home against the San Antonio Spurs:

  • The Spurs occupy the No. 10 slot, but they are struggling and have lost five straight.
  • New Orleans sits 11th, 1.5 games back of San Antonio.
  • The Kings trail the Spurs by 2.5 games.
  • A Kings win pulls them within two in the loss column with five games remaining (OKC [twice], Memphis [twice] and Utah).

It’s still a longshot, but the Kings at least are sniffing a spot in the play-in tournament.

Follow us on Twitter @Kings_Lead for the latest Kings news and insight. 

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About Dave Andrade

Sports Director, KRCR-TV Redding 1968-81; Shasta College football & basketball play-by-play; marketing rep; retired, but still doing a daily sports report & commentary for KKXS 96.1 FM, Redding; contributor at Kings Lead

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