That the Sacramento Kings aren't winning these games really is a double-edged sword. I mean, hallelujah! The team is competitive again, and on a nightly basis. For a while there, Sacramento was getting its slobber knocked all over the place. But dating back to the Choke Game on Dec. 21, the Kings have been competitive in all but two games. All but two of the 12 losses in that span have either gone to overtime or ended with a margin of five points or less, with the exceptions being blow-out losses to the Nuggets and Celtics.
That's good, right? Depending on who ask, close games are decided by luck, clutch or coaches. No one around here thinks Paul Westphal is the greatest coach in the world, and few believe he'll be around next season. No one disagrees that young teams have to learn how to be clutch, should clutch even exist. (If you want to venture out of the realm of unicorns, you could call that "poise.") Luck? You argue with Lady Luck. I have better things to do. Like snidely compare Kobe Bryant to a unicorn.
The other way that this is good is that while the Kings are busy learning from their mistakes (or so they say) and taking some lumps while showing glimpses of brilliance, they aren't racking up lottery-damaging wins. Because like it or not, this team isn't winning anything without help. Help is best found at the top of a draft. Come on down, Kyrie Irving.
As such, I shall not cry if the Blazers repeat the feat and defeat the Kings, as they did last week. (Can we call that the Time-out Game? Good.) I shall groan, I shall gape in amazement if it happens in precisely the same way. But I shall not cry. These are skirmishes in the grand war against the NBA that the Sacramento Kings shall wage. Minimize the casualties, live to fight another day. Or year. Or decade.
The Kings meet the Blazers in Portland at 7 PM Pacific. The game will be carried on NBA TV, CSN California and KHTK 1140 AM. Game threads at 7 and 8:30.