The Sacramento Kings begin a five-game road trip tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers. Over the next nine games, the Kings will be at home just once, and the competition is pretty tough. The Sixers currently sit No. 3 in the East with a 6-2 record. On Wednesday the opponents is an improving Raptors club. On Friday and Saturday, the Kings draw the Rockets and Mavericks before visiting the Wolves on Monday. The single home game over this stretch comes against the resurgent Pacers; the following three-game road trip features the Spurs, Grizzlies and Blazers. Guhs all the way down.
The Kings can and should certainly win at least one of these games, and probably two. But let us not ignore how awful the Kings were on the road earlier this season, losing three games by an average of 22 points. That's right: 0-3 on the road, -22 per game. It was just brutal, and we can't blame it all on Paul Westphal. Note that both of the Kings' spirited performances under Keith Smart have come at home, where Sacramento was 2-2 (-2.25 per game) under Westphal.
So let's set some group expectations for the stretch. I think the Kings eek out nine wins to bring the team's record to 12-6, solidly in the playoff hunt. It's time for the world to stop underestimating the Sacramento Kings. What say you? (Poll and your comments after the jump.)