(KTXL) — The Sacramento Kings are on the verge of ending the longest playoff drought in the NBA history and the longest active streak in major professional sports in North America.
The Kings haven’t competed in the postseason since 2006 and they could clinch a playoff berth this week. As of Tuesday, March 28, the team sits third in the Western Conference standings with a record of 45-30.
•Video Above: Mike Brown critiques his Kings the morning after the loss to Timberwolves
After entering Monday, March 20 as the No. 2 team in the West, the Kings dropped to third following losses to the Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics this week.
Following the two-game slide, the Kings have won two consecutive games against the Phoenix Suns (135-127) and the Utah Jazz (121-113) at the Golden 1 Center on March 24 and March 25.
The Kings had a chance to clinch a playoff berth at home Monday, but ended up losing 119-115 to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Another chance at a playoff berth came Tuesday with a Golden State Warriors loss, but the Warriors ended up beating the New Orleans Pelicans 120-109.
Here’s what needs to happen for the Kings to break their 16-year playoff drought, the longest in NBA history.
What is the Kings’ magic number
Following Tuesday’s NBA games, Sacramento’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is one, meaning any combination of one win and/or a loss by some teams behind them in the Western Conference standings.
The Kings can clinch a playoff berth Wednesday with a win over the Trail Blazers in Portland. The game begins a two-set game with the second matchup occurring on Friday.
Other ways Sacramento can clinch a playoff berth with a Timberwolves loss or a loss from the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Timberwolves play the Phoenix Suns on the road while the Clippers play at the Memphis Grizzlies.
There’s a chance the Clippers lose before the Kings’ game goes final, as the Los Angeles and Memphis matchup begins 5 p.m. PST. Tip off for the Timberwolves and Suns is the same time as the Kings game at 7 p.m.
Sacramento is three games behind Memphis and six games behind the Denver Nuggets for the top seed in the conference. The Kings play the Portland Trail Blazers for a two-game set on Wednesday and Friday.
The top six seeds in each conference automatically qualify for the playoffs while the teams that finished from seventh to 10th compete in a play-in tournament for the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds.
Who are the teams behind the Kings?
The Kings have separated themselves a bit as a top-three team in the West with the Suns (40-35) in fourth place with five games behind them.
The Clippers (40-36) are 5 1/2 games behind the Kings in fifth place while the Warriors (40-37) are in sixth place with six games behind the Kings.
The Timberwolves (39-37), Pelicans (38-38), Los Angeles Lakers (37-38), and the Oklahoma City Thunder (37-39) are ranked No. 7 to No. 10 in that order.
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Who are the teams left on the Kings schedule?
The Kings have 7 games remaining in the regular season with two of them at the Golden 1 Center.
Here are the teams the Kings play in their final 7 regular season games:
Wednesday, March 29: at Portland Trail Blazers, 7 p.m. PST
Friday, March 31: at Portland Trail Blazers, 7 p.m. PST
Sunday, April 2: vs. San Antonio Spurs at Golden 1 Center, 3 p.m. PST
Tuesday, April 4: at New Orleans Pelicans, 5 p.m. PST
Wednesday, April 5: at Dallas Mavericks, 5:30 p.m. PST
Friday, April 7: vs. Golden State Warriors at Golden 1 Center, 7 p.m. PST
Sunday, April 9: at Denver Nuggets, 12:30 p.m. PST