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Taking a quick look at Sacramento's upcoming schedule

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings have had a bit of a weird schedule as of late.  Over just a couple weeks they've already had two games in which they've had three days off before playing again, something that is relatively rare midway through an NBA season.  The schedule tightens up starting tomorrow against the Lakers, with 13 games being played in about 21 days.  The upcoming stretch of basketball is huge for the Kings, especially given how tough their immediate stretch after the All-Star break is.

Only five of Sacramento's remaining games before the All-Star break come at home.  Only four come against Western Conference teams.  Seven games come against teams that are below .500 and the Kings also manage to play the teams with the three worst records in the NBA (Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and the Lakers).

If ever there was a time for the Kings to make up some major ground in their record on the way back to .500, this is the part of the schedule that they need to use to their advantage.  There can't be any let up against lesser opponents. No team can be taken for granted.  The Kings are healthy (a claim many teams cannot make) and they've been playing better as of late.  The relatively heavy Eastern Conference slate also seemingly works to their advantage as the Kings have been surprisingly good against the East this year (8-6) despite the fact that the East is the deeper conference this season.

The real test for the Kings comes after the All-Star break.  Their first two games after coming back from the break are against the Nuggets (who they have yet to play) and then they have to go on the following brutal stretch:

vs. San Antonio
vs. L.A. Clippers
vs. Oklahoma City
@ Memphis
@ Dallas
@ San Antonio
@ New Orleans
vs. Cleveland

That's as tough a stretch as you'll see in the league, and the last time the Kings faced such adversity was early on in the season when they managed to go 1-7.  The Kings will hopefully have more going for them this time around.  They should be healthier (DeMarcus Cousins was out during much of that 1-7 stretch) and they'll hopefully be a more cohesive bunch after several months of playing together.

But let's not look too far ahead.  The Kings have to take care of what's in front of them, and that starts tomorrow with a matchup against the Lakers.