Chicago Bulls

Kings crest 34-win mark for first time in more than decade, want more

Kings crest 34-win mark for first time in more than decade, want more

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.

[RELATED: Kings still respect one another despite recent struggles]

With plenty of winnable games in their final 13, the Kings have a chance to set the bar much higher for next season.

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 129-102 blowout win over Bulls

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 129-102 blowout win over Bulls

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- Just what the doctor ordered.

After a tough East Coast road trip, the Sacramento Kings returned home to Golden 1 Center looking to get back on track against a struggling Chicago Bulls team.

The Bulls played tough through the first quarter, but the Kings outscored their guests 32-17 in quarter No. 2 for a considerable halftime lead. The second half was more of the same, with Sacramento blowing out Chicago by a final of 129-102.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings moved back toward the .500 mark at 34-35 on the season. This is the most wins for the Kings franchise since the 2007-08 season.

Bagley wants more

Still battling a minutes restriction, rookie Marvin Bagley is making the most of his opportunities. The rookie power forward looks 100 percent healthy and ready to dominate down the stretch.

Against the Bulls, the 6-foot-11 leaper dropped in 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting to go with nine rebounds and a block in just 21 minutes of play. 

Sacramento is taking the cautious approach to his recovery, which is the right move. He has star potential and should be a fixture in the Kings’ lineup for the next decade. 

Giles Takeover

Bagley isn’t the only rookie big the Kings are throwing at teams. Harry Giles is earning more minutes every time he steps on the floor. 

The 20-year-old center went to work in the second quarter, blocking shots and running the floor for putbacks. He even finished the half with a technical foul for jawing with Robin Lopez.

Giles’ confidence is at an all-time high on the court. He finished the evening with 16 points, six rebounds, three assists and three blocks off the bench. 

Fox and Hield

De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield make the Kings’ machines go. The duo played limited minutes due to the score, but they were dominant when they were on the floor. 

Fox torched the Bulls for 17 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals in 25 minutes. Hield added 16 points, four assists and three steals in 24 minutes. 

These two set the table, and the rest of the team followed suit. A blowout victory is exactly what this team needed to open their four-game homestand.

Kings vs. Bulls live stream: How to watch NBA game online on MyTeams

fs_myteams_kings.jpg
NBC Sports Bay Area

Kings vs. Bulls live stream: How to watch NBA game online on MyTeams

Even if the playoffs are out of reach for the Kings (33-35), they still have plenty left to play for.

A strong finish to the season could give Sacramento its first winning season since 2005-06, which would clearly be a major step in the right direction for the franchise. The Kings are coming off three straight losses to close out their recent road trip, but now return home for four consecutive games, beginning with a matchup against the Bulls on Sunday.

Chicago (19-51) has been well outside playoff contention for the entire season. The Bulls have lost four in a row heading into Sunday's contest, and the tank is on, so to speak. The Kings beat the Bulls 108-89 in Chicago back on Dec. 10.

Here's how you can watch Kings-76ers, as well as NBC Sports California's pregame and postgame coverage, live on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app. 

When: 3 p.m. PT on Sunday, March, 17 (pregame show starts at 2:30 p.m.)
Live Stream: MyTeams by NBC Sports app

Desktop users can watch here.