Last night's loss to Chicago marked yet another game in which the opponent was missing at least one key player and still managed to beat Sacramento. Out of some morbid curiosity, I have gone through all of Sacramento's losses to identify similar games and outcomes. Players highlighted in bold either had a career-high or season-high against the Kings.
1. Nov. 16, 2015
Rockets 116, Kings 110
Key Player missing: Dwight Howard
Rockets surprises: Clint Capela, 13 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 assists. Marcus Thornton, 16 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists.
2. Nov. 27, 2015
Timberwolves 101, Kings 91
Key Player missing: Ricky Rubio
Timberwolves surprises: Shabazz Muhammad, 15 points. Zach LaVine 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists.
3. Dec. 21, 2015
Wizards 113, Kings 99
Key Player missing: Bradley Beal
Wizards surprise: Marcin Gortat, 27 points, 16 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 assists. Garrett Temple, 23 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals. Kris Humphries, 15 points. Ramon Sessions 15 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists.
4. Dec. 27, 2015
Trail Blazers 98, Kings 94
Key Player missing: Damian Lillard
Blazers surprises: C.J. McCollum 35 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists. Meyers Leonard, 16 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists.
5. Jan. 25, 2016
Hornets 129, Kings 128
Key Players missing: Al Jefferson, Nicolas Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeremy Lamb, Cody Zeller
Hornets surprises: Jeremy Lin, 20 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds. Marvin Williams, 21 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists. Spencer Hawes, 18 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals. Troy Daniels, 28 points, 7 rebounds.
6. Jan. 28, 2016
Pelicans 114, Kings 105
Key Players missing: Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans
Hornets surprises: Ryan Anderson, 36 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists. Norris Cole, 17 points, 10 assists. Bryce Dejean-Jones, 14 points.
7. Feb. 3, 2016
Bulls 107, Kings 102
Key Players missing: Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah, Nikola Mirotic
Bulls surprise: E'Twaun Moore, 24 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists.
That's 7 games that the Kings have dropped when they should have had the advantage on the other team. For a team that is trying to reach the playoffs to continue to let these kind of games slip away from them is inexcusable. Yes, there have been a couple games where Sacramento has been able to take advantage and win (against Oklahoma City without Durant and the Clippers without Griffin) but the overwhelming majority of such games have been losses. Almost half of these losses are to sub-.500 teams!
This has been a disturbing trend this season, and one that hopefully won't continue. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests otherwise.