Per a report from Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, each team’s schedule will consist of the next eight games they were originally slated to play. The games that involve teams who will not be in Orlando will be skipped over for the next available matchup.
The plan is for teams to continue their schedule as planned, with the next 8 games. If team is scheduled to play Hawks/Bulls/Pistons, it moves onto the next game on schedule, league sources tell Yahoo Sports— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) June 3, 2020
That means that Sacramento will restart its season against the New Orleans Pelicans, the team it was set to play on the night the NBA shutdown back in March. New Orleans is one of six teams that will be challenging for the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds in the Western Conference, so this game will hold massive playoff implications.
Here is how the rest of the Kings’ regular-season schedule looks:
- Pelicans: Sacramento is 0-1 against New Orleans thus far this season and needs to reverse the head-to-head tiebreaker. That makes this game essentially a must-win.
- Nets: Kevin Durant has ruled himself out for the remainder of the season in spite of the delayed timeline, but Kyrie Irving could be back after having surgery to correct a right shoulder impingement. Brooklyn didn’t even need Irving as Spencer Dinwiddie led a 19-point beatdown of the Kings in the teams’ first meeting of the season.
- Mavericks: Dallas is 2-1 against Sacramento this season, but the Mavericks may not have much to play for when the NBA restarts. They are three games back of the sixth seed, a large margin to overcome in only eight games, and have a six-game cushion on Memphis for the eighth seed. Their lack of motivation could benefit the Kings.
- Rockets: Arguably the toughest game thus far on Sacramento’s schedule. Houston’s final eight games have enormous seeding implications, so the Rockets won’t be laying down for this one. The Kings earned one of their most impressive wins of the regular season in Houston on a Nemanja Bjelica buzzer-beater, but the Rockets responded by stealing a game in Sacramento. The two teams haven’t played each other since December, so this will be the first time the Kings have faced off against Houston’s center-less lineup.
- Magic: There won’t be homecourt advantage, but Orlando did beat Sacramento in the teams’ lone meeting earlier this year on an Aaron Gordon game-winner. The Magic are probably the worst team the Kings will get to face in Orlando, but they will be trying to pass the Nets to avoid the play-in tournament for the eighth seed. Still, Sacramento needs this win.
- Pelicans: Another match-up against New Orleans! If the Kings lose the first game, the Pelicans will have already secured the tiebreaker. If not, this contest becomes even more important. The two teams’ only game this season ended in heartbreaking fashion after a J.J. Redick game-winner erased a heroic Bjelica four-point play. The drama will be there again, but the outcome needs to change for Sacramento.
- Pacers: The Kings were actually scheduled to play Cleveland and Atlanta, but neither of those teams will be finishing the regular season; thus, we move on to Indiana. The Pacers beat Sacramento pretty handily the last time they played and are another team with much to play for in terms of playoff seeding. They’ll have Victor Oladipo this time around (though no Jeremy Lamb), and let’s put it frankly, are just a better team than the Kings. However, these are the kind of games Sacramento will need to win to finish its playoff push.
- Spurs: The last game of the regular season will come against San Antonio, and it could be epic. The Spurs and Kings each have 36 losses right now, and they split their first two matchups, so this game will decide the tiebreaker. Even if by accident, this is a pretty awesome way to end the regular season — certainly better than playing the Warriors.
Sacramento was 3-8 against these seven teams during the regular season. It goes without saying that the Kings will have to do better to remain in the playoff hunt. Nothing short of 5-3 would be acceptable, and even that may be cutting it close considering all of the other teams in the hunt.
There are still issues to resolve regarding the schedule because not every team’s next eight games line up neatly. For example, the Lakers would be slated to play the Kings in their eighth game, but that would require an additional game for Sacramento. This is the best guess we have so far of what the schedule will look like, but as with all NBA news since the shutdown, it is subject to change.
In any case the Kings will get a fair opportunity to compete for a playoff spot, which wasn’t a guarantee just a few months ago. We’ll have to wait and see what they do with it.