New York – As the last seconds ticked by sacramento kings, 101-96 win Above Brooklyn Nets Thursday night at Barclays Center, Kings fans loudly chanted “Light the Beam!” Japa.
It was a festive night on some levels. It was Sacramento’s eighth win in the last 10 games – the best record of any team in the NBA over that span. it made the kings memphis grizzlies for the second seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
But, in the immediate aftermath, it did something bigger: It gave the Kings 42 wins, ensuring that Sacramento has the winning record this season.
This may not seem like a big deal. But consider this: The 2022-23 season marks the first time Sacramento has posted a winning record since the 2005-06 season, a span of 16 seasons — an NBA record.
Second longest streak? Also held by the Kings from 1983 to 1998.
Kings coach Mike Brown said after the game, “If anything, it means a lot to the fans and the organization.” “Sacramento, it’s a proud fan base. The hardworking fans are city-wide and they don’t get a lot of love city-wise across the country, or even city-wise in the state of California. So a little bit of bragging to be able to beat your chest and Being able to walk with your head held high and talk with your friends for the right to kill, it’s great.
“It’s a little tough for me, because I don’t compare March 16 to 42 wins. We’re just trying to get as many wins as possible while trying to play the right way – especially at this time of year.”
For the Kings and their fans, this time of year has rarely been about getting ready for the playoffs.
Until this season, the only coach with the Kings to record a winning record—or even 40 wins in a season—was Rick Edelman, who did so in each season from 1998–99 to 2005–06.
To say that the nearly 40 years in Sacramento were the glory years for this franchise is an understatement. under the leadership of those kings chris weber, peja stojakovic and Vlade Divac, went to the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons—eight of the 11 total times the team has made the playoffs in Sacramento—including three trips to the Western Conference Semifinals and a highly memorable seven-game losing streak. Los Angeles Lakers Conference Finals in 2002.
For Brown, success is something he’s accustomed to in the NBA. He has had six winning seasons in his career as a head coach, with five winning percentages above .600. He has won the Coach of the Year award (and is the heavy favorite to win a second time this year), has coached in the NBA Finals, and has led a team to the post-season in every season he has coached.
This doesn’t include spending the last six seasons Golden State Warriors as Steve Kerr’s top assistant, a stretch that included three NBA championships and another trip to the NBA Finals, and neither of his previous deep playoff runs as an assistant coach San Antonio Spurs And Indiana Pacers,
It was that message – that Brown knows what it looks like to win in the NBA, and believes the Kings can achieve it – that he preached to his players from the moment he took over last summer.
Brown said, “I’ve been talking to people since day one, so internally, it’s a lot easier, because people understand what my message is, and they understand how passionate I am about it.” “I think that group believes in themselves. Not just because I’m telling them they’re good, but because they’ve gone out and proved it time and time again, whether it’s personally in certain situations.” Ho or collectively a team.
“When you have a team that believes, they can be dangerous. When you have a assembled team that believes, it can be a very dangerous team. That’s what our group is right now.”
Its easy to see why. Although outside observers waited for Sacramento to hit the bottom of the season, the Kings continued to win. Domantas Sabonis24 points, 21 rebounds and 5 assists in Thursday night’s win, is on pace to potentially make the All-NBA team. so is it Dee Aaron Foxwho is also a shoo-in to win the league’s first clutch player of the year award, something he validated once again with his game winner to beat Chicago Bulls Wednesday night in front of back-to-back sweeps of Sacramento.
In the meantime, pick the lottery Keegan Murray played a key role in the starting lineup and produced immediately, while Kevin Huteran off-season acquisition in trade with atlanta hawksHas solidified the starting 2-guard spot next to Fox, hitting 41% of his 3s at high volume.
He also said, as Brown said after the game, that he has been blessed with good health – something that took a hit when Hueter landed awkwardly in the first quarter and left the game with a hamstring injury. Sources said, however, there was optimism that Hütter did not suffer any structural problems, although an MRI would determine the severity of the hamstring injury.
And while several star-studded Western Conference teams are struggling in the quagmire that is the battle to create a play-in tournament — including teams Phoenix Suns, dallas mavericks, LA ClippersThe Lakers and Warriors — The Kings haven’t been lacking in the form that those teams have had this season.
Which is why the Kings are on pace to do a lot more than just win 42 games — and why they weren’t fazed by the idea that this is an important win for them.
“I don’t think anybody on our team was coming into the season like, ‘We want a winning record,'” Fox said. “But I think it’s good. I think it’s good for the franchise, it’s good for the city, it’s good for the fan base to finally get it out of the way.
“But, for us, we know we still want to do bigger things.”
However, doing great things first requires accomplishing great things. Breaking the league’s longest streak of consecutive losing seasons was the first thing on the list. Soon, the Kings would check off another: ending their 16-season drought without making the playoffs – the longest in NBA history, and the longest active streak among the four major North American professional sports leagues.
However, the Kings are hungry for more. And, the way this season has played out, they have every reason to believe that more is possible.