On to the rankings!
Losing to the Suns and beating the Warriors (which the Kings did on Friday and Saturday) may be the most Jekyll-and-Hyde-ish back-to-back any team has had this season. DeMarcus Cousins was one assist away from recording triple-doubles in both games, but the key to Saturday's upset was the minutes of Willie Cauley-Stein (14 points) backing up Cousins. For the season, the Kings have been outscored by 10.5 points per 100 possessions with Cauley-Stein on the floor and that has been, by far, the team's worst on-court NetRtg. Cousins and Cauley-Stein have played just 113 minutes together this season after playing 596 minutes together last season.
How do you expect us to project what's going to happen with the No. 8 spot in the West when the Kings can lose to bottom-of-the-West Phoenix at home and then turn around the next night to outlast Golden State on the second half of a back-to-back? Losing to the Suns, by the way, inexplicably dropped Sacramento's record to 1-5 in games in which DeMarcus Cousins records a triple-double and came just a few days after Cousins' monstrous 46 points and 15 boards weren't enough to prevent a narrow defeat in Philly when Joel Embiid was being held out for rest. In other words: Good luck with that forecasting thing.
January was unkind to the Kings, with a crappy slate of travel understandably wearing them down. But topping the Warriors in OT was a great start to February. They’ll now play nine of 11 games at home, through the first week of March. It’s a make or break (or tank) month in Sacramento.
Of course they lost to the Suns and then beat the Warriors on a back to back. Of course. Why wouldn't they? They're the Kings. So very Kings.
The Kings are 2.5 games out of the playoffs and if things are going to change for this team it needs to happen over the next few weeks — nine of their next 11 are at home. The win over Golden State was a very good start. Then again, the ugly loss to the Suns speaks to the unpredictable nature of this team. Who knows if we will see more Jekyll or Hyde during this homestand, about the only thing we can expect are big games from DeMarcus Cousins.
Mean Ranking: 21.8
Moving up one spot per week should put us in the playoffs by the start of March...