SACRAMENTO KINGS

Preview: Kings aim for third-straight win vs. NBA-worst Wizards

Mar 21, 2024, 9:38 AM | Updated: 10:30 am

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 18: Harrison Barnes #40 of the Sacramento Kings shoots against th...

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The push for the NBA Playoffs continues as the Sacramento Kings will complete a back-to-back on Thursday night in our nation’s capital.

On the heels of a dominant win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, the Kings will look to secure a third-straight win against a Washington Wizards team that enters play with the NBA’s worst record (11-58).

Sacramento (40-28) is in the midst of its final ‘favorable’ stretch of the season, with Thursday’s game against the Wizards being their third consecutive game against a team with a sub-500 record. After facing Washington, just three of the Kings’ final 13 games will be against teams with losing records.

As the Western Conference playoff race gets tighter with each passing day, Sacramento continues to keep pace in the chase for the sixth spot in the standings. Wins over struggling teams are a necessity at this time in the year, and a win over a Wizards squad that is on pace to finish the season with less than 15 wins will only add to the Kings’ postseason chances.

Can Sacramento sweep its three-game set against sub-500 opponents before entering a tougher portion of its schedule?

Sacramento Kings vs. Washington Wizards Game Info

When: 4:00 PM PST

Where: Capital One Arena  – Washington D.C.

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Coverage starts at 2:30 PM on Game Night

Line: Kings -11.5, O/U 236.5

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Wizards coverage, beginning at 2:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 4:00 PM PST tip-off from our nation’s capital.

“Don’t be that team”

On December 28th, the Detroit Pistons were on the verge of NBA history as they closed in on their record-tying 28th straight loss.

Before Detroit went on to blow a 19-point lead to the Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma took to Twitter/X with a tongue-in-cheek message: “At this point, it’s like ‘don’t be that team.'”

Since then, the tables have turned for Kuzma and the Wizards, as Washington has posted a 5-32 record in the 2024 calendar year while falling behind the Pistons in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Wizards have only beaten one winning team since December 15th–the Miami Heat on March 10th. Outside of their triumph over Miami, all six of Washington’s wins in that timespan came against teams with sub-500 records.

For Sacramento, it’s simple: Don’t be that team that falls victim to an NBA-worst Wizards squad that will be without several pieces of its rotation, including old friend Marvin Bagley III and guard Tyus Jones.

The Kings have handled business against sub-500 teams this season (18-7, .720). Thursday is another opportunity for Sacramento to pad its record before setting its sights on the final stretch.

Keep Soaring, Black Falcon

When Harrison Barnes plays well, the Sacramento Kings play well.

Barnes has been locked in on offense over the past five games, scoring double-figures in each contest while holding averages of 16.4 points and 4.2 rebounds on 50/50/83 shooting splits.

In games in which Barnes has scored at least 15 points this season, Sacramento holds a record of 17-4 (.809), meaning that the veteran’s involvement in the offense typically impacts the result of games.

The Kings have a different look when Barnes is dialed in, with players like De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, and Malik Monk able to take their foot off the gas while ‘The Black Falcon’ takes the initiative on the offensive end.

Barnes’ scoring and rebounding have taken steps forward over the past two weeks, which could be a good sign for Sacramento as they inch closer to the postseason. With Kevin Huerter (shoulder dislocation) set to miss time, the Kings will need more offense out of Barnes and Keegan Murray down the final stretch, especially from beyond the arc to aid table-setters like Fox and Sabonis.

De-fense

Sacramento has been searching for a defensive identity for the past two seasons, and they might have just tapped into that part of their game they had been missing.

Toronto’s 89-point outing on Wednesday was the fewest points Sacramento has allowed in a game this season. This isn’t just a one-game situation, either. The Kings have held their opponents to 112 points or less in six straight games (the longest streak since 2017-18, 13 games).

Sacramento has been a top-two defense in the NBA over the past two weeks, and a matchup against a Washington team that enters play ranked 26th in offensive rating and 29th in three-point field goal percentage could add to their impressive streak.

Notes

With a double-double on Thursday, Domantas Sabonis would pass Moses Malone for the second-most-consecutive double-doubles since the NBA-ABA merger (1976-77). Sabonis has posted a double-double in 51 straight games.

Kings vs. Wizards Injury Report

Sacramento

  • Sasha Vezenkov – QUESTIONABLE (right ankle sprain)
  • Kevin Huerter – OUT (left shoulder dislocation)
  • Trey Lyles – OUT (left knee MCL sprain)
  • Jordan Ford – OUT (G-League)
  • Mason Jones – OUT (G-League)

Washington

  • Deni Advija – QUESTIONABLE (right knee contusion)
  • Richaun Holmes – QUESTIONABLE (non-COVID illness)
  • Tyus Jones – OUT (back sprain)
  • Marvin Bagley III – OUT (back sprain)
  • Bilal Coulibaly – OUT (right wrist fracture)
  • Isaiah Livers – OUT (right hip joint inflammation)
  • Eugene Omoruyi – OUT (right ankle sprain)
  • Landry Shamet – OUT (left calf strain)

Upcoming Schedule

  • Thursday, March 21st – Sacramento Kings @ Washington Wizards – 4:00 PM PST
  • Saturday, March 23rd – Sacramento Kings @ Orlando Magic – 4:00 PM PST
  • Monday, March 25th – Sacramento Kings vs. Philadelphia 76ers – 7:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, March 26th – Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks – 7:00 PM PST
  • Friday, March 29th – Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks – 7:00 PM PST

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