Next 5 games pivotal for the Kings

memphis - kings

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The dim light you can see in the west is the Kings playoff hopes setting on the horizon. Sacramento is currently in tenth place in the NBA Western Conference Playoff standings. They are four games behind Houston who is in the eighth and final playoff spot.

The Kings have lost three consecutive games at home to San Antonio, the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City – all playoff teams. The Kings inability to create home court advantage has been devastating to their playoff hopes.

In his postgame press conference on Monday night, Kings head coach George Karl pointed out that his team has been playing some of its best basketball on the road. When he made that statement, it sounded like Karl was trying to convince himself that there is still hope for his team to make the postseason.

The team will need to play great basketball if they are to survive this four-game road trip. The Kings will play in Memphis, Dallas, San Antonio and New Orleans.

The Kings are a combined 1-7 versus the four teams this season. Their only win came over Dallas in Sacramento back on November 30th.

To make matters worse, the Kings will come home after the four road games to host “King James” and the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 9th.

The best scenario for the Kings would be to finish the road trip 2-2 for the four games. The Memphis and New Orleans contests should be winnable games for the team.

Memphis is without Marc Gasol who is out for the season due to a fractured foot. Even without Gasol, the Grizzlies are going to be a playoff team. They are currently 35-24 on the season and are in fifth place in the Western Conference. Sacramento will have to start fast and finish strong to beat Memphis.

A win in Dallas is going to be tough for the Kings. The game is second game of a back-to-back for the team. Sacramento is 2-12 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.

The Spurs are on a five game winning streak and have lost only nine for the season. The best the Kings can hope for is to have San Antonio rest one or two of their starters to give Sacramento a fighting chance.

That brings us to the final game of the road trip in New Orleans. There is no reason for the Kings not to come away with victory from the Crescent City. The Pelicans are 23-35 on the year and in 11th place in the West. The Kings will need to play some top-notch perimeter defense to shutdown Ryan Anderson – the 3-point making machine that killed them on their last visit to NOLA.

In order to make the playoffs, it is going to take 37 to 41 wins. Looking a best case scenario of 37 wins being the magic number – the Kings need post a 13-11 record over the final 24 games. To say that is a tall order is to make an understatement about the Kings chances.

The next five games will make or break the Kings chances of making the playoffs. The Kings schedule will get easier later in March but later will be to late to make a playoff run.



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