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Kings' NBA playoff drought hits 15 seasons with loss to Grizz

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Luke Walton on the sideline

For the last fourteen seasons, the Kings have been eliminated from playoff contention before the end of the regular season. Thursday night at FedEx Forum, the team made it an even fifteen in a row when they fell to the Memphis Grizzlies by a final of 116-110.

It was a rollercoaster ride of season for the Kings. Prolonged losing streaks intertwined with stretches of solid play had the team in and out of the postseason picture from an early point in the season. In the end, a pair of nine-game losing tumbles were too much to overcome. 

Despite an up-and-down year, the Kings finished strong. Coming into Thursday evening, they had won seven of their last eight games. But that lone loss, a 113-104 stumble to the San Antonio Spurs, was a big one.

The Kings came into the night trailing the Spurs by two games, with each team having three contests remaining on the schedule. San Antonio lost to the New York Knicks, leaving just a slim chance alive for the Kings, but the Kings just didn’t have enough healthy bodies to close it out.

Sacramento came into the year with a roster filled with young players. New GM Monte McNair made adjustments throughout the season, but the depth of the team wasn’t up to standards until after a series of deals at the trade deadline brought in Terence Davis, Moe Harkless and Delon Wright.

The Kings stayed relatively healthy until late in the season when De’Aaron Fox missed time with the coronavirus, Harrison Barnes went out with an adductor strain and Tyrese Haliburton hyperextended his left knee.

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This opened the door for the newcomers to get comfortable and start performing at a high level. But in the end, they need just a few more experienced bodies to close out the season the right way.

Sacramento walks into the offseason with a healthy roster ready for a full summer program to prepare for the 2021-22 NBA season. Haliburton’s knee issue isn’t considered serious and both Fox and Barnes were close to a return before the team was eliminated from contention.