SACRAMENTO KINGS

Sacramento Kings look to end 2023-24 season on high note against Blazers

Apr 13, 2024, 5:03 PM | Updated: 7:03 pm

Jerami Grant #9 of the Portland Trail Blazers shoots over Harrison Barnes #40 of the Sacramento Kin...

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Sunday’s 2023-24 regular-season finale arrives with the Sacramento Kings facing postseason uncertainty ahead of their matchup with the visiting Portland Trail Blazers.

Sacramento (45-36) fell to ninth place in the Western Conference after a 108-107 loss at home to Phoenix on Friday. The setback, coupled with a Los Angeles Lakers’ rout of Memphis, left the Kings with a variety of possibilities for the play-in round.

A win Sunday over Portland, coupled with a Lakers loss at New Orleans, elevates Sacramento to the No. 8 seed and an opening play-in round matchup visiting the No. 7 seed – either New Orleans, which occupies the sixth spot entering Sunday, or current No. 7 Phoenix.

Should the Kings and Lakers both win Sunday, Sacramento is locked into ninth place. As the No. 9 seed, Sacramento would host No. 10 Golden State in a rematch of last year’s first-round playoff series.

A Kings loss to Portland (21-60) and a Golden State win against Utah pits Sacramento and the Warriors head-to-head in San Francisco with the Kings as the No. 10 seed.

The Kings are on a three-game skid heading into the regular-season finale and have lost five of their past six – two by one point.

“We have to figure it out at some point,” Kings All-Star guard De’Aaron Fox said of close, late-game situations. “But we can’t sit here like the season’s over. We’re locked into a play-in game. Which one it is, obviously, can still be determined, but we still have a chance.”

Portland closes out its season trying to snap a four-game losing skid and a 2-14 stretch. The Blazers snapped a 10-game skid with back-to-back wins at Charlotte and Washington, but since have dropped games at Boston and to New Orleans, Golden State and Houston.

Rookie Scoot Henderson scored 30 points against the Rockets, while Dalano Banton posted a 28-point, 10-rebound double-double off the bench in the 116-107 loss.

“These last few games, it’s just been fun to play with the guys,” Henderson said. “Coming towards the end of the season, but still with the same goal, whether it’s the first few games or last few games.”

Sunday’s matchup is the first between the Kings and Blazers since Portland won a 130-113 decision at home Dec. 26. Henderson dished 11 assists off the bench in that meeting, and Portland weathered performances of 43 points from Fox and 34 points and 12 rebounds from Domantas Sabonis.

The Blazers lineup looked much different then, however, with Anfernee Simons scoring 29 points. Simons is one of a host of Portland players who have been sidelined for much of the season’s final month, along with veterans Jerami Grant and Malcolm Brogdon.

Sacramento won the teams’ first meeting this season Nov. 8, 121-118 in overtime, when Malik Monk scored 23 points off the bench.

Sabonis finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds in one of his 76 double-doubles registered this season. His streak of 61 straight ended April 9 in a loss at Oklahoma City.

Upcoming schedule for the Sacramento Kings

  • Friday, April 12th – Kings vs. Phoenix Suns – 7 p.m. PST
  • Sunday, April 14th – Kings vs. Portland Trail Blazers – 12:30 p.m. PST (End of regular season)
  • Tuesday, April 16th-Friday, April 19th – NBA Play-In Tournament (Teams & matchups TBD)
  • Saturday, April 20th – NBA Playoffs begin

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