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Quicksand

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The slow, sinking inevitability

Kimani Okearah

You’re playing and you think everything is going fine. Then one thing goes wrong. And then another. And another. You try to fight back, but the harder you fight, the deeper you sink. Until you can’t move... you can’t breathe... because you’re in over your head. Like quicksand.

Those are the words of sports legend Shane Falco. They’re about losing control of a game, but they apply just as well to the Sacramento Kings season and their ever-dwindling playoff hopes.

Losing to the Denver Nuggets by 2 isn’t bad. It’s admirable even. Same with losing to the Warriors by 2. You beat the Thunder and it feels like things are still ok. And then you lose to the Timberwolves. It was a road game, and the Wolves are good at home, so you think maybe it’s not that bad. And then a 1-point overtime loss to the Bucks. The Bucks are a great team, and the Kings took them to the limit. And then you lose to the Clippers. That one hurts, but you right the ship with a win against the Knicks. We’re still in this thing! And then you lose to the Celtics, who are on the second game of a back to back and without Kyrie Irving. You only lost by 2, but suddenly you look back and you’ve lost 6 of your last 8. You look up in the standings and realize you’re a full four games back of the 8th seed.

Quicksand.

The Kings have had a wonderful season. It surpassed our every expectation. And it’s not over yet, not officially. The Kings have some winnable games ahead. Beat the Knicks, beat the Wizards, maybe even steal the next game against the Celtics. But the Kings basically need to be perfect from here on out.

This isn’t a pity party to wallow over the losses. This isn’t to excuse the losses or talk about how this is part of learning to win. There will be time for that later. Right now I’m just amazed at how quickly it all seemed to slip away.

How quickly we got pulled down by the quicksand.