NBA

Magic Number 20: Sacramento reaches 20th win in historic pace

Jan 4, 2023, 9:30 AM | Updated: 9:39 am

Sacramento Kings players Malik Monk #0, Kevin Huerter #9, De'Aaron Fox #5 and Domantas Sabonis #10 ...

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Coming into the 2022-23 season, the Sacramento Kings were projected to win 33.5 games by most NBA win forecasting and betting sites.

On the heels of 16-straight seasons without a winning record or playoff berth, who could blame those sites for handing the Kings a low-win prediction? Sacramento had yet to show any progress in recent years, and it likely would take a noteworthy season to change the trajectory of those preseason win forecasts.

About that progress…

The Kings secured its 20th victory of the season on Tuesday night as De’Aaron Fox’s 22-point closing effort in the fourth quarter led Sacramento to a 117-115 win over the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City.

With the win, the Kings improved to 20-16 on the season, giving the franchise its quickest 20th victory since the 2004-05 season when Sacramento picked up its 20th win on January 4, 2005.

For reference, the Kings won their 20th game on February 5th last season when they improved to 20-35 on the year.

These aren’t your usual Sacramento Kings, as this team has proven they belong in the race for the postseason and even in the mix for a top-six spot in the Western Conference.

Entering play on Wednesday, the Kings held a half-game lead over the Los Angeles Clippers for the Pacific Division lead. That’s right–Sacramento is in first place in their division on January 4th. Nearly half of the regular season is in the books, and the Kings stand alone on top of the Pacific.

Of course, half of the season has yet to be played, but the schedule favors the Kings as they hope to continue their impressive winning habits. According to Tankathon, Sacramento has the third-easiest remaining strength of schedule in the NBA (and the easiest in the Western Conference).

Just a few days removed from concluding a six-game home stand, the Kings will open up a five-game stretch at Golden 1 Center when they face the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night. The game against Atlanta will act as the second game of nine straight that Sacramento will face teams below the .500 mark, meaning that the time is now for this team to try and pad their record.

The Kings are 11-7 at home this season and a dominant 11-3 against teams with a .500 record or worse.

Another hurdle that Sacramento will attempt to leap over will be the five games over the .500 mark, a place that the Kings have not been since April of 2006. The Kings have had six attempts at pulling five games over the. .500 mark this year and failed every time.

Could tonight be the night?

Five games over .500 or not, it’s clear that the Sacramento Kings aren’t going anywhere, especially not when All-Star candidates Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox are playing in unison the way they have over this recent four-game stretch.

Golden 1 Center has been a madhouse over the past month, and you can expect this recent sell-out streak to continue as long as the wins keep pouring in.

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