The Kings can clinch a playoff spot by the end of the day if coach Mike Brown gets a little help from his former team.
Sacramento’s magic number is down to one following Saturday’s 121-113 victory over the Utah Jazz at Golden 1 Center.
The Kings will secure their first playoff berth since 2006 if the Golden State Warriors beat the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday evening at Chase Center in San Francisco. If that doesn’t happen, the Kings will have an opportunity to clinch in front of their home crowd when they play the Timberwolves on Monday.
Brown spent six seasons as Steve Kerr’s lead assistant with the Warriors before coming to Sacramento last summer. Now, in his first season, he has the Kings on the verge of ending the longest playoff drought in NBA history – and the longest active streak in North American professional sports – after 16 consecutive losing seasons.
Current position: No. 3 in the Western Conference
Who they would play: If the playoffs started today, the Kings would play the No. 6 seed, the Golden State Warriors, in the first round of the playoffs.
Homecourt advantage: Yes, the Kings would currently have homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs, which will begin April 15.
Next up: The Kings will play the Timberwolves on Monday at Golden 1 Center.
Games remaining: 8
Magic number for playoffs: 1
The top six teams in the West will secure automatic playoff berths. The Timberwolves, Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans are tied for seventh in the West at 37-37. All three teams would have to go 8-0 to match Sacramento’s current win total, but the Kings already hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lakers and could still win the tiebreaker over the Timberwolves and Pelicans. In any event, the Kings can clinch a playoff spot with one more win or one loss by the Timberwolves and Pelicans.
Magic number for homecourt advantage: 2
The top four teams in the West will have homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Suns (39-35) are fourth in the West. The Los Angeles Clippers (39-36) and Warriors (39-36) are tied for fifth. The Suns could still finish with 47 wins if they go 8-0. Sacramento and Phoenix split the season series, but the Kings hold the tiebreaker based on conference record, so the Kings will clinch homecourt advantage with any combination of two Sacramento wins or Phoenix losses. The same is true for the Warriors, who can get to 46 wins and still have a chance to win the season series against the Kings. The Lakers can also get to 46 wins, but the Kings hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their 3-1 record in the season series, so the magic number against them is one.