Since Herbert Hoover was in office, the Sacramento Kings haven’t participated in the NBA playoffs. The No. 1 movie in America at the time was merely grainy footage of a man in a top hat riding a penny farthing, and the NBA was still utilizing peach baskets at the time. Yeah, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but you get the picture. Basketball postseason action hasn’t been seen in Sacramento in a very long time. Prior to the season, their supporters would have been overjoyed if you had promised them a No. 10 seed. It has been increasingly obvious as the season has gone on that their seed will be significantly higher. We could even need to remove the zero from the number “10.”
guys, that’s correct. The Sacramento Kings are in with a real possibility of securing the top seed in the Western Conference with around four weeks of basketball left. It goes without saying that the chances are very slim. But, the Denver Nuggets, who have dropped their last four games, have a little bit of a window currently. The Kings, who have triumphed in eight of their previous ten games, will have the opportunity to rush through that gap.
The Kings are behind the Nuggets by five games as of March 14. Sacramento, though, has a little bit more control over their pursuit because the difference in the loss column is only four games. Theoretically, the Grizzlies still lead the Kings in the standings by one game, but with the uncertainty surrounding Ja Morant’s health, it’s probably reasonable to assume that they won’t make a meaningful effort to secure home-court advantage unless he recovers earlier than anticipated.
Yet, the Kings have access to and are healthy of their complete squad. Since the All-Star break, they hold the top record and net rating in the Western Conference. In comparison to the Nuggets, they also have a simpler schedule during the final stretch.
Denver has played just five of its last 13 games at home, where the Nuggets have a 30-6 record. Although Sacramento has a similarly road-heavy schedule, the Kings are the only team in the Western Conference with a road record above.500 (19-13). Eight of Denver’s last thirteen games, including two away contests in Phoenix on or after March 31 when Kevin Durant might have made a comeback, are against teams who are currently seeded in the top six of the Western Conference. Sacramento plays Phoenix one week before to Denver’s first game, and there are just five games left against teams ranked in the top six of either conference. They will probably steer clear of Durant. Boston, Phoenix, and Golden State are the three teams Sacramento will play at home.
We must discuss how both of these teams complete their seasons in case this race tightens up. The Nuggets will visit the Kings on April 9, the final day of the regular season, in a matchup that the NBA probably didn’t anticipate having such significance. Denver’s third game in four nights, with the first two being on the road, will not only be the second game of a back-to-back but also the second day of a back-to-back. Sacramento does not play on Saturday, April 8, and instead plays on Friday, April 7, at home. They should be well-rested when they compete. If a tiebreaker is required, the winner of that game receives the advantage over the loser.
Still, the chances are really tiny. It won’t be simple to close a four-game defeat streak with 13 games left. Denver, though, is obviously experiencing something that calls for additional investigation. Denver’s previous four contests involved opponents with offensive rankings of 29, 24, 15, and 11 respectively (though, Brooklyn has ranked 22nd since trading Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant). Despite their losing run, the Nuggets have managed to give up 123 points on average per game.
In those four losses in a row, star point guard Jamal Murray, who was labeled as questionable on Tuesday’s injury report, has shot 23 of 73 (31.5%) from the field, raising concerns about his health as he has ramped up after suffering an ACL tear that prevented him from playing all of last season. Since joining the team, Thomas Bryant, a deadline addition who was brought in to help Denver’s horrendous backup center situation, has a minus-18.9 net rating.
These issues are not insurmountable. This season, Murray has displayed All-Star-like qualities at times. Bryant might merely require some time to adjust to his new environment. From December 1 and March 1, Denver’s defense was the ninth-best in the NBA. The No. 1 seed will probably remain with the Nuggets. They might still be the favourites in the Western Conference.
But, they are slipping just when the Kings are rising, which is a terrible timing. Sacramento will make a significant run for the No. 1 spot that they have held for the majority of the season if the Nuggets aren’t careful.