SACRAMENTO -- The slide has reached epic proportions. After giving up a 15-point fourth quarter lead to the Washington Wizards and falling short in overtime Friday, the Sacramento Kings have lost seven in a row.
They’ll face a Denver Nuggets team they trailed by just a game in the playoff standings a little over a week ago. Sacramento is now five games out of the hunt for the eighth seed and the postseason chattered has subsided.
Denver continues to lead the chase for eight in the Western Conference standings, but the Portland Trail Blazers are on their tail, sitting just a game behind in the standings. The Nuggets are coming off a stunning 119-99 win over the Celtics on Friday night that included a 21-point, 10-rebound, seven-assist performance by big man Nikola Jokic.
Nuggets by 5.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Kings forwards vs. Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler -- The last time these two teams met, Wilson Chandler set a new career-high in points with 36 and chipped in 12 rebounds, while Gallinari added 18 points on just 5-of-7 shooting. Sacramento has an issue with size at the small forward position and both Chandler and Gallinari will present a huge challenge.
WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: 25-40, third place in Pacific
Nuggets: 30-35, third place in Northwest
Kings: SG Malachi Richardson (right hamstring partial tear) out, F Rudy Gay (torn left Achilles) out for season.
Nuggets: PF Kenneth Faried (back) out.
Sacramento holds a 2-1 advantage over the Nuggets this year, but they lost the last meeting 108-96 less than a week ago at the Pepsi Center. The all-time series between these two teams is close, but the Kings hold an 88-87 lead after winning five straight and they are up on the Nuggets 65-62 lead during the Sacramento-era.
“It doesn’t feel good when you miss shots down the stretch, it doesn’t feel good when you’re up 25 or 15 or whatever, but we’re maturing. We’ve got a lot of young guys and we’re still trying to learn how to win.” -Arron Afflalo following the Kings loss to the Wizards