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.

Nick Pivetta, Boston Red Sox starter, tops out at 96.2 mph with fastball in 2021 spring debut; ‘Iâ

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For the second straight spring and fifth time in eight seasons, Cruz punctuated his spring debut with a home run on Wednesday, blasting a three-run shot to deep left-center. But Red Sox first baseman Bobby Dalbec homered twice and Boston pounded seven doubles en route to a 14-6 victory over the Twins at Hammond Stadium.

José Berríos pitched two scoreless innings, hitting 95 mph and striking out three hitters in his first outing of the spring.

“I didn’t see any [mph] numbers, but that’s how I feel. I feel strong,” Berríos said. “I was happy about that. I’ve been working hard to be in this position.”

Bullpen candidates Cody Stashak and Ian Hamilton each whiffed two of the three hitters they faced.

But Alex Colomé’s first inning as a Twins pitcher included five hits and four runs, and Boston racked up eight runs in the fourth off righthanders Glenn Sparkman and Chandler Shepherd before an out was made. They recorded only one, in fact; since both pitchers had thrown 20 or more pitches, the inning was declared over without a second or third out.

In addition to Cruz’s rocket, the Twins got home runs from Mitch Garver and outfield candidate Kyle Garlick, his second of the spring.