With all of the relocation talk, it has become more and more difficult to focus on the game of basketball. I think that statement goes for most Kings fans right now, but strangely enough, not the players. At the beginning of their current five game road trip, the Kings were 16-51, losers of two in a row at home and coming off arguably, their worst effort of the season. Four games later, the Kings came into Sunday morning’s contest against the 76ers 19-52, winners of two in a row, three out of four and already guaranteed of coming home with a winning road trip.
Wins and losses are academic at this point with the Kings long since being eliminated from the play-off picture, but there is still time for this young group of players to learn more about the game of basketball and more about each other.
Apparently, that is exactly what these guys are doing. While many Kings fans were still asleep or sitting in a church pew somewhere, the Sacramento Kings were busy winning their third game in a row and finishing off an impressive 4-1 road trip. The Philadelphia 76ers, yes, the same team that walked into Power Balance Pavilion a little over a week ago and embarrassed the home team, got a taste of their own medicine as the Kings beat the home team 114-111 in OT.
Tyreke Evans looked extremely rusty in his second game of action after returning from injury, but he had one of very few questionable performances for the Kings. Marcus Thornton continued his impressive run since joining the Kings, dropping 32 points, 28 of those in the second half. Samuel Dalembert, who played his first eight seasons in the NBA with the 76ers before an off-season trade with the Kings, returned to a chorus of boo’s. Sammy D responded with 13 points and 19 rebounds, hitting two huge free throws to ice the game down the stretch. Philadelphia native Jason Thompson tossed in 15 points and 11 rebounds in just 26 minutes of play as the Kings had seven players score in double figures.
The Kings return home with a surprising 20 wins, and with 10 games remaining, the Kings still have a chance of matching last season’s win total of 25. In what might be the surprise stat of the season, the Kings are now 11-25 on the road and 9-27 at home, opening the door for the team to have a better road record than home record for the first time in the Sacramento era.
Next up for the Kings is Tuesday night’s battle with the Phoenix Suns back home in Sacramento. With only five home games remaining, the players return to a quagmire of uncertainty in Sacramento as rumors of the franchise relocating to Anaheim have become louder. It will be interesting to see how Coach Paul Westphal focuses his troops as they will face questions by concerned fans on a daily basis now that they are back from the road.