Kings manic season continues, can Lakers win spark another hot streak?

SACRAMENTO — During the last 14 seasons of playoff-free basketball in Sacramento, there almost always develops a trend that you rely on. Whether it’s struggling to compete or the Kings once again learning how to win, you often know what type of game you are about to see each night.

That isn’t the case with the 2020-21 season.

In the span of 35 games, the Kings have won three out of four, lost nine out of eleven, won seven of eight, lost nine in a row and they are now one really poorly played minute of basketball away from another three game win streak.

The team’s 123-120 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night was another example of the team’s wild up and down play. Unlike the previous game where they strung together a series of mistakes, Sacramento battled and came out on top.

“Our backs are against the wall, at some point, you have to take this thing seriously,” Buddy Hield said. “People’s jobs are on the line. Everybody’s fighting for something and we want to go out there and win. In this league, the only thing that matters is winning.”

At 14-21, the Kings aren’t in the postseason hunt, but they also aren’t out of it. At any given moment, they feel like a team that is about to live up to their potential or lose every game the rest of the way out.

Call it manic. Call it inconsistent. Call it Kings basketball.

The man at the center of it all is head coach Luke Walton, who is constantly under fire. He has been since taking the job in the summer of 2019 and his seat is only getting hotter.

Walton has the difficult task of traversing a condensed 72 game season in a global pandemic with a team that is lacking depth at almost every position and can’t seem to play consistent basketball for more than a few games at a time.

Kelly Oubre Jr. out with a sprained wrist
The Golden State Warriors are wrapping up their first half schedule, but they’re suddenly without the services of one of their hottest offensive players. Kelly Oubre Jr. sprained his left wrist during Tuesday’s practice, and will miss Wednesday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
According to coach Steve Kerr, Oubre suffered the injury on a dunk attempt with a bad landing. It sounds like it could have been a lot worse.
Kent Bazemore will start in Oubre’s place, and it seems likely that Jordan Poole — who just rejoined the team after a scorching hot stint with the G League’s Santa Cruz Warriors — will see some significant minutes off the bench.

There’s never a good time to lose a player to injury, especially since Oubre had a sensational February in which he averaged 20.1 points per game and shot 43.0% from three-point range. With that said, suffering an injury right before the start of the All-Star break is about as good of timing as possible.

The Warriors play again on Thursday night against the Phoenix Suns, a game in which Oubre has not yet been ruled out for. Then they’re off for a week before returning next Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers.