The Sacramento Kings probably aren’t going to force a play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed. That was true before they took on the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, but the competitive spirit they showed in their win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday gave fans hope that they were turning a corner. Apparently, that wasn’t the case.
Despite a combined 48 points from De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bodganovic, the Kings couldn’t come out on top against the shorthanded Nets and lost 119-106. They’ve now lost four of the five games they’ve played since the season restarted.
The Kings looked okay to start the first quarter, and with the talent they had compared to what’s left of the Nets roster, okay should have been good enough. But after that promising first quarter, Luke Walton couldn’t find the right combination of guys to sustain or build on their lead and the Nets took advantage of their stagnant offense. Brooklyn led by as much as 23 points at one point in the game.
The most discouraging thing about these losses is that they’re not just a product of guys not hitting shots; they’re a product of guys not being able to find their shot within the offense (because, more often than not, there is no offense) and forcing up bad shots. That strategy, or lack thereof, leaves guys that aren’t adept at creating their own shots like Buddy Hield to suffer. Hield signed a four-year extension worth at least $86 million contract in October.
Oh, and the defense is bad. Everything is fine.
The Kings haven’t been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention just yet, but they’re no longer eligible for the No. 8 seed by way of record. As for the play-in tournament, they could lose that route too if the Portland Trail Blazers beat the LA Clippers on Saturday.
In other words, it’s over. I’m sorry. You all deserved better.