NBA Playoffs

Kings must conquer second-toughest schedule among playoff contenders

NBC Universal, Inc.

With eight games remaining in the 2023-24 NBA regular season, the Kings face a tough slate of opponents as they continue to battle for a top-six seed in the Western Conference and a guaranteed playoff berth.

Sacramento has the second-toughest schedule of any playoff-contending team over the final eight games, with the Kings taking on the likes of the Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers and the New York Knicks, all postseason-bound squads, per Tankathon.

The team will have to do so without Malik Monk, who will miss at least four weeks with an MCL sprain, meaning that the Kings will need more steady offensive production from Harrison Barnes and Keegan Murray.

The Kings currently sit in eighth place in the West, a half-game behind the seventh-seeded Phoenix Suns, who have the hardest schedule of any team remaining, and 1.5 games back of the New Orleans Pelicans for the sixth seed.

If Sacramento cannot finish in the top six and instead finishes Nos. 7 through 10, it would land in the NBA play-in tournament and have to fight to qualify for the postseason. Given that the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers would be potential play-in opponents, the Kings would do best to avoid a one-game, win-or-go-home scenario.

Behind the stellar play of Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox, the Kings have put themselves firmly in contention for a playoff berth. Still, a recent series of struggles, such as dropping consecutive games to the Dallas Mavericks, has put the team in a tough position.

Closing out the regular season with wins against many of the league’s top title contenders would do wonders for the Kings in terms of their playoff seeding, but also in boosting their confidence heading into the postseason.

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