Kings clinch NBA playoff spot, end 16-year drought

March 30 (UPI) -- The Sacramento Kings totaled 30 assists and made 18 3-pointers to beat the Portland Trail Blazers and advance to the playoffs, ending a 16-year postseason drought.

Kings guard Malik Monk scored a team-high 19 points, with five 3-pointers, off the bench in the 120-80 win Wednesday at Moda Center in Portland, Ore. Center Domantas Sabonis totaled 15 points and 12 rebounds in the victory. Kings guard De'Aaron Fox logged 18 points and six assists.


"We came into it knowing it was kind of a burden we wanted to get off of our chests," Fox told reporters. "I am grateful to be a part of that."

The Kings last made the playoffs in 2005-06, when led by Mike Bibby and Peja Stojakovic. They went to the playoffs for eight-consecutive seasons from 1998 through 2005.

RELATED Four indicted in defrauding NBA players a collective $13M

"We are excited for the fans, but we also know they expect more from us," Kings coach Mike Brown said. "We expect to hopefully give them more."


Wednesday's game featured four lead changes and was tied four times. The Kings led by as many as 40 points in the second half.

The Blazers outscored the Kings 20-19 over the first 12 minutes. The Kings went on to outscore the Blazers 31-26 in the second and led 50-46 at halftime.

RELATED NBA suspends Grizzlies star Ja Morant eight games for gun incident

Guard Shaedon Sharpe scored 13 of the Blazers' 18 points in the third. Seven Kings players combined for 33 points in the quarter.

Monk scored 13 in the fourth, making all four of his shot attempts, including a trio of 3-pointers. The Kings outscored the Blazers 37-16 over the final 12 minutes. The Blazers made just 5 of 23 shot attempts in the fourth.

Sharpe scored a game-high 30 points, with six 3-pointers, in the loss. Kings guard Kevin Huerter and forward Keegan Murray scored 17 and 13 points, respectively, in the win.

Murray, who made three 3-pointers, also set an NBA rookie record for the most 3-pointers (188) by a rookie in one season.

The Kings (46-30) are in third place in the Western Conference, two games behind the second-place Memphis Grizzlies and five games ahead of the fourth-place Phoenix Suns. They are on track to battle the No. 6 Golden State Warriors in the first round.


The NBA play-in tournament will start April 11. The playoffs will start April 15. The Kings will face the Blazers (32-44) at 10 p.m. EDT Friday in Portland.

Latest Headlines