SACRAMENTO -- Thirty-four wins isn’t the mark the Kings were focusing on, but it’s a milestone of sorts for a franchise that has struggled mightily for well over a decade.
With their 129-102 victory over the Chicago Bulls, the 2018-19 Kings have crested 33 wins for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
“That’s a good feeling,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said after the win. “We’re so locked in on what we’re trying to do and grinding in and out, and every once in a while, you’ve got to step back and take a breath and enjoy the group and the success and how far they’ve come.
"That’s really cool. I didn’t know that.”
The season isn’t over. Sacramento still has 13 games remaining on the schedule and a very outside shot at climbing back into the playoff race. But this is a mark that shouldn’t go unnoticed.
For perspective sake, the last time the Kings won more than 34 games, rookie Marvin Bagley had just turned 9 years old. Starting point guard De’Aaron Fox was 11.
“I think you could probably see it coming toward the beginning of the year,” Fox said. “We’re trying to fight for a playoff spot. I mean, the West is tough, but just to be able to be here, knowing the history, I think is definitely good.”
Reggie Theus was the Kings' coach during the '07-08 season. The night Sacramento picked up its 38th victory, Beno Udrih and John Salmons started in the backcourt, with Ron Artest, Mikki Moore and Spencer Hawes up front.
Hawes is attempting to make a comeback through the G League, but the other four are retired. So are Francisco Garcia, Sheldon Williams and Quincy Douby, the three players Theus turned to off Sacramento's bench.
The current Kings roster has grander aspirations. While they understand the math, they have yet to give up on the postseason, which was their personal goal coming into the season.
“I cannot still call it a successful season, because we’re really trying to make the playoffs,” Bogdan Bogdanovic said. “Not even an eight spot. We were trying to aim higher.”
Whether they find a way to sneak into the postseason or not, the Kings are heading in the right direction. They’ve already bested their '17-18 win total of 27, and they’ve smashed the Las Vegas prediction of 25.5 wins.
With plenty of winnable games in their final 13, the Kings have a chance to set the bar much higher for next season.