The playoff talk can stop now.
Needing a win to keep pace in the Western Conference, the Sacramento Kings fell flat on their face Monday night in Washington, losing 121-115 to the Wizards.
Sacramento left Washington’s shooters open all night long, and they made the Kings pay. Bradley Beal led the way for the Wizards, finishing with 27 points, nine assists and nine rebounds. Three other players scored 17 or more for Washington, which picked up its 28th win of the season.
Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic combined to shoot 8 of 28 from the field and 2 of 12 from behind the arc in a crucial loss for Sacramento.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings fall back to the .500 mark at 33-33 on the season.
The Kings came into the night trailing the Spurs, Jazz and Clippers by four games for the sixth, seventh and eighth spot in the Western Conference standings.
They needed a win against a team that had dropped two straight and was just 3-7 over its previous 10 games.
There is no sugar-coating this loss. Sacramento missed open shots, turned the ball over and played poorly in a must-win game.
With 16 games remaining, the Kings are not eliminated from the playoff picture, but they would have to play flawless from here on out to have any chance.
The Bjelica conundrum
Nemanja Bjelica has arisen from the ashes like a Phoenix. The veteran Kings forward continues to make an impact after getting a second shot in the rotation because of rookie Marvin Bagley's injury.
With the Kings off to a slow start, Bjelica got it going. He nearly posted a double-double in the first half, and finished the game with 15 points on 3-of-5 shooting from deep. He also chipped in a team-high 12 rebounds.
Bagley is almost back from injury, but there is no way the Kings can bump Bjelica from the rotation. Over his last five games, he’s a combined +45 in the plus/minus category.
Harry Giles wants your job
With veteran center Willie Cauley-Stein coming out flat and listless, Kings coach Dave Joerger turned to rookie Harry Giles for some energy. Once again, the 20-year-old answered the call.
Giles played physical with the Wizards, and they had no answer. He finished the game with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting and chipped in six rebounds, three assists and one block in 21 minutes of action.
The Kings don’t have time to see who wants to play and who doesn’t come tip-off time. Giles is showing with every game that he is part of Sacramento's future.