April 24, 2012; Oklahoma City OK, USA; Sacramento Kings point guard Tyreke Evans (13) drives to the basket against Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha (2) during the third quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE
The two big Thursday games to watch other than the Sacramento Kings' season finale against the L.A. Lakers will tip off at 5 p.m. Pacific: the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Chicago Bulls and the New Orleans Hornets at the Houston Rockets. You don't have to root for the Kings to lose to want the Cavs and Hornets to win; it helps Sacramento's draft positioning either way.
If the Kings pull out a victory, it'll help to have the Cavs and/or Hornets there with them (and the Nets-Raptors loser) at 22 wins: the lottery combinations will be combined and split, and coin flips will determine the default draft order that comes into play after the ping pong balls determine the top three picks. If the Kings win and the Cavs and Hornets lose, the Kings would enter the lottery with the No. 5-1/2 highest probability, basically.
If the Kings lose and the Cavs and Hornets both win (possible), Sacramento would be all alone in No. 3. If the Kings lose and only one of the others loses, Sacramento and that loser would be tied for No. 3. If all three lose, the three-way tie for No. 3 continues. Ties are expected to be resolved by the NBA on Friday.
About that Nets-Raptors game: it matters in that one of the teams will remain at 22 wins, with the potential for the Kings to tie them with a win. But it doesn't actually matter who wins. One team definitely will. The other one will definitely not. It's not worth suffering through, though we should note the Nets never win anything, which could foretell coin flip doom, so ...
Kings-Lakers is at 7:30.