Why Larry Bird hopes Kings end 13-year playoff drought this season

Why Larry Bird hopes Kings end 13-year playoff drought this season

MUMBAI, India -- The Kings believe they have the team that can end their 13-year playoff drought.

So does Basketball Hall of Famer Larry Bird.

The Celtics legend attended the 2019 NBA India Games, and he discussed the high-flying Kings with NBC Sports California before their game against the Pacers.

"I don't follow them that much, but I do know they do have a lot of great outside shooters that can score the ball, they've got an excellent backcourt, they've got a pretty strong bench," Bird said. "I know they haven't made the playoffs in a while, and obviously they'll be fighting for the seventh or eighth seed because they are talented and they are young.

"Things don't happen overnight. They've come a long way, and they are getting better. I hope they make it because they are fun to watch."

After finishing with a 39-43 record last season, the Kings hope to take the next step in 2019-20. Sacramento re-signed Harrison Barnes, and added free agents Dewayne Dedmon, Trevor Ariza and Cory Joseph.

[RELATED: Kings, Pacers give Mumbai a night it won't forget]

But the Western Conference is as deep as it has ever been, so it won't be easy for the Kings to end their drought. But they certainly have the talent to do it.,

Kings' Harrison Barnes to join 'players-only' NBA 2K20 tournament


Kings' Harrison Barnes to join 'players-only' NBA 2K20 tournament

Amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we're all finding ways to continue to watch live sports -- well, a derivative of that anyway. 

Video games have been able to create a sense of normalcy during the halt across the sporting world.

The NBA just recently announced the league plans to broadcast a players-only NBA 2K20 tournament. The Kings have representation from their own Harrison Barnes (78 overall rating), The Boardroom announced Tuesday.

Along with Barnes, former Warriors star Kevin Durant (96 rating) will be participating in the tournament along with DeMarcus Cousins (81 rating), Andre Drummond (85 rating) and Donovan Mitchell (87 rating).

The matchup seeds were determined by the player's respective 2K ratings and the tourney is set to begin on Friday.

NBC Sports Bay Area/California asked fans who they would like to play 2K against. Unsurprisingly, Kings fans would want to go up against De’Aaron Fox with Dubs’ faithful wanting to face Steph Curry.

[RELATED: Kings launch initiative to give back to active community]

Both would be equally fun. 

The federal government has extended social distancing to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus to at least April 30, which means there's still plenty of time to continue these tournaments. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to see Steph and Fox play against each other -- with a controller in their hands.

Five moments to remember from Kings' 2018 comeback win over Pelicans

Five moments to remember from Kings' 2018 comeback win over Pelicans

Programming note: Watch the re-air of the Kings’ victory over the New Orleans Pelicans from Dec. 23, 2018 tonight at 6 pm PT on NBC Sports California.

The NBA is closed for the next few months, but we have been accessing the archives in search of some of the best games from the last few seasons.

In our seventh installment, we go back to last season, when the Kings trailed by 19 early to the New Orleans Pelicans, but bounced back to come away with a big victory.

While we know the final outcome of the game, sometimes the details become murky over time. Here are five things to watch from the Kings’ 122-117 win over the Pelicans.

First-quarter blues

The Kings had a shocking breakout 2018-19 season, but they struggled with the first quarter in plenty of games early in the season. This game was no exception.

On their home court, the Kings couldn’t find the bottom of the bucket in the first 12 minutes, shooting just 34.6 percent from the field, including a 5-of-18 start from the first team.

The Kings’ poor offense led to a fast beginning for the Pelicans, who led by as many as 19 in the quarter.

Reel em’ in

Sacramento trailed by 11 points at the half and 10 heading toward the fourth quarter. At the 7:37 mark of the fourth, the Pelicans’ Tim Frazier knocked down a pair of free throws to push the lead back to 11 points at 105-94, and then the Kings answered.

Between 7:37 and 5:29 in the fourth, a span of two minutes and 18 seconds, the Kings hit the Pelicans with an 11-0 run to tie the game. Sacramento finished on a 28-12 run to finish off New Orleans and come away with the win.

De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic scored nine points each in the fourth and Buddy Hield chipped in eight as the Kings shot as the Kings outscored the visiting team 36-21 in the final 12 minutes. 

The Backcourt

The starting backcourt of Fox and Hield was spectacular in this game. 

Hield led all scorers with 28 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field and 6-of-11 from 3-point range. He chipped in six rebounds in his 37 minutes of action and was the driving force behind the team’s second-half comeback.

Fox didn’t break the 20 point barrier, but he posted a 19-point, 11-assist double-double in the win and he added an incredible chase-down block. When these two pushed the tempo, the Pelicans struggled to keep up.

Bogi off the bench

In addition to the big numbers from the starters, Bogdanovic brought firepower in the backcourt off the bench for coach Dave Joerger’s squad. 

With the starters struggling in the first quarter, Bogdanovic saved the day with a nine-point quarter to get the Kings’ offense going. He finished strong as well for a total of 24 points, seven assists and four rebounds.

It’s hard to beat a team when their three primary guards combine for 71 points.

Free Willie 

Willie Cauley-Stein came to play in this one. The Kings’ starting center at the time posted one of his better outings of the season, finishing with 22 points, 17 rebounds, three steals and a block.

[RELATED: Barnes joins "players-only" NBA 2K20 tournament]

In his four seasons with the Kings, Cauley-Stein struggled with major bouts of inconsistency. He put up one of his best rebounding performances in this game, including nine in the fourth quarter while Sacramento made their comeback.