Beginning tomorrow night, the Kings go through their toughest four-game stretch of the season. (And that was before Orlando decided to get good.)
Using the win probability method we've used before - it accounts for both teams' records, both teams' rest, and home court advantage - here's how the next week shapes up:
DATE TEAMS W-PROB
12/1 SAC@DAL 23.5%
12/2 SAC@SAS 23.1%
12/4 ORL@SAC 44.9%
12/5 SAC@PHX 35.4%
Scary, no? Using these numbers, there's a 0.8% probability the Kings will go 4-0, and a 20.9% probability the Kings will go 0-4.
This uses current season statistics, which has some issues - San Antonio and Phoenix are better than their records, and Orlando isn't. But it doesn't get much better - it gets worse, in fact - if you use last season's numbers.
The Kings need to win one of these just to stay over .500. The logical guess would be the one home game, but Orlando is playing better than everyone but Dallas right now. San Antonio seems to be a crapshoot in ARCO, but the Spurs have held serve in Texas pretty well over the last several years, with Tony Parker constantly being the key. (Now is a good time to showcase that improved defense, Mike Bibby.)
The Phoenix game will be intriguing, but we'll save that discussion for early next week. For now, it's trying to steal one in the Texas Two-Step.