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Bubble Bursted: Kings Eliminated From Playoff Contention For 14th Year In A Row

(Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)

Sacramento is now just one season behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the longest playoff drought in NBA history

When the NBA season was paused back in March, the Sacramento Kings were playing their best basketball of the season.

After winning seven-of-10 games leading into the work stoppage, the team had cemented itself in the thick of the Western Conference Playoff race with 18 games remaining.

Optimism was high. Feelings of hope–no matter how small they might have been–had resurfaced.

Fast forward to today, after a disappointing 1-5 record to opening up ‘bubble’ play, the Sacramento Kings have been eliminated from playoff contention after the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday afternoon.

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

After 14 years of no postseason appearances, the team is now one season away from the Los Angeles Clippers record of 15-straight seasons without a playoff appearance (1977-1991).

To add insult to injury, Sacramento blew a 13-point lead over the Houston Rockets on Sunday to seal a disappointing day, falling 129-112 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex located within Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

De’Aaron Fox was the leading scorer for the Kings, finishing with 26 points (nine-of-17 from the field) and nine assists in the loss.

Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has been a massive bright-spot for the team during the first six-games of action, finished with 13 points, five rebounds and eight assists for the Kings.

Buddy Hield scored 16 points off of the bench, hitting four of his nine three-point attempts. DaQuan Jeffries chipped in with 13 points (five-of-seven from the field) for the Kings.

Sacramento had no answer for former Duke Blue Devil Austin Rivers, who finished with a career-high 41 points (15-of-21 from the field). It was Rivers’ first game eclipsing the 30-point mark as a member of the Houston Rockets.

Former NBA Most Valuable Player James Harden scored 32 points in the win on a 10-of-21 shooting performance.

Ben McLemore, who was drafted by Sacramento back in 2013, finished with 20 points for the Rockets.

With the Kings being eliminated from playoff contention, it seems likely that players such as De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes, Richaun Holmes and others could be shut down for the team’s remaining two games.

Players like DaQuan Jeffries, Kyle Guy and Justin James will in all likelihood see big minutes in the final two games, giving general manager Vlade Divac a closer look at the three Sacramento rookies.

Sacramento–like in every single one of the last 13-plus years–will need to take a hard look at its roster this offseason.

With the Western Conference getting more tough each year, the Kings could find themselves further out of the playoff picture next season if things don’t change.

Back in 2017, Divac made the infamous claim that he would resign from his position in two seasons if the team was not in a better position after the DeMarcus Cousins trade.

It should be another interesting offseason in Sacramento.

Coming Up

Although the Kings are eliminated from the postseason contention, the team will face the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday afternoon.

Like Sacramento, the Pelicans were also eliminated from postseason contention after the Blazers win.

Be sure to tune in for all of the action right here on Sports 1140 KHTK, with pregame coverage beginning at 5:30pm PST and tip-off following at 6:00pm PST.