Just like the last 14 years, the Sacramento Kings are playing out the string as they approach the end of their season. The Kings had a golden opportunity to be in position to make some noise in the chase for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, but instead choked away a 114-110 overtime loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
Sacramento still has a mathematical chance being two games out of the ninth seed, but it will need to leap frog four teams just to qualify for the play-in tournament, and one of those squads is the New Orleans Pelicans.
This will be the first of two meetings between the clubs in the bubble, with the Pelicans sitting just a game behind the Portland Trail Blazers. New Orleans is 1-2 in Orlando, and is looking to build off its 109-99 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Kings have five games left to at least show some fight. The players complained about being disrespected going into the restart, so if they want to earn respect, they need to be a whole lot better over their final games.
Here is how to watch the matchup:
Where: Orlando, Florida
When: Thursday, 10:30 a.m. PT
TV: NBC Sports California, (Interim play-by-play man Gary Gerould, and color commentator Doug Christie will call the games on NBCSC), NBATV.
Streaming: fuboTV, NBA League Pass
Kings: Marvin Bagley III (out)
Pelicans: Josh Gray (out)