Kings’ loss to Wizards could be costly down the stretch

Sacramento Kings v Washington Wizards
Sacramento Kings v Washington Wizards / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

At this point, it is really no surprise anymore. This is what the Kings do. They play well for a while and then completely fall apart against bad teams. 

Pretty much all month we have been raving about the Kings’ defensive improvements, their effort, and their intensity. In yesterday’s game, not much of that was on display. Shots weren’t falling, especially from three, but the Kings kept settling from long range rather than attacking the paint. 

De’Aaron Fox went 5-15 from three, and Domantas Sabonis had six turnovers. The Kings’ stars weren’t consistently present offensively, and without Malik Monk, the loss might have been much uglier. 

Defensively, it didn’t look pretty either. Sacramento allowed the Wizards to shoot 40 percent from three and to score 60 points in the paint, falling back into old patterns. They battled back from a big deficit but still allowed the worst team in the NBA to get its twelfth win of the season. 

This loss could be costly in the playoff race

Outside the top three and the bottom four, the West is incredibly tight. The Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, and Sacramento Kings are all battling for the sixth seed with similar records, hoping to avoid the Play-In Tournament and teams desperate not to miss the playoffs.

With just this one loss, the Kings plummeted from sixth all the way to eighth in the standings. The Mavericks and Suns, meanwhile, each got a valuable win yesterday. These other star-studded teams certainly have more pressure to put together a successful postseason run than the Kings but Sacramento does not want to miss the playoffs either. 

This whole season was supposed to be about getting the core more playoff experience and seeing what they can do after their first season of winning. Plus, the front office hopefully wants to convince Malik Monk to stay in free agency. Monk is a competitor and wants to play on a winning team. 

With all this at stake, this loss could end up being very costly down the stretch. Every win matters and the Kings cannot afford to lose games against teams they’re supposed to beat. 

The schedule doesn’t get easier from here on out. Sacramento still has to face the Mavericks, the Clippers, the physical Knicks, the Celtics, the Thunder, the Pelicans, and the Suns. Some of the best teams in the league are on that list, as well as some teams, like the Pelicans, that the Kings just haven’t played well against. 

Let’s hope this ugly loss doesn’t come back to haunt the Kings.