On May 5, 2006, the Sacramento Kings were eliminated in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, falling 105-83 to the San Antonio Spurs to lose the series 4-2. To date, that is the most recent playoff game in the history of the Kings. But that will not be the case for much longer.
Sacramento needed one win to clinch a playoff spot. It came emphatically on Wednesday night.
The Kings led by only four over the Portland Trail Blazers at halftime, but dominated the second half 70-34 en route to a 120-80 victory.
THE SACRAMENTO KINGS ARE GOING TO THE NBA PLAYOFFS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 16 YEARS! 🏀👑pic.twitter.com/XMUe5QN22v
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) March 30, 2023
The 16 years without playoff appearances was not only the longest active NBA streak but the longest in history. It broke the record of 15 years, held by the Los Angeles Clippers from 1977-1992. It’s also not a record that will be broken any time soon. The next-longest active streak belongs to the Charlotte Hornets, who last made the playoffs in 2017.
Sacramento’s postseason drought was the longest active in not just the NBA but in all of the four major professional North American leagues. The NFL’s New York Jets now hold the longest drought.
The New York Jets move to the front of the line:https://t.co/7xlgYg45Vu
— Sarah Kezele (@SarahKezele) March 30, 2023
The NBA world congratulated the Kings on finally breaking the long spell.
— Monte McNair (@mmcnair) March 30, 2023
— Kevin John (@heykevinjohn) March 30, 2023
LIGHT THE BEAM!!! pic.twitter.com/pdLf5zEz6A
— KingsMuse (@kings_muse) March 30, 2023
THE SACRAMENTO KINGS ARE HEADED BACK TO THE PLAYOFFS. THE DROUGHT IS OVER. IT’S BEEN 84 YEARS. AHHHHHHHHHHHH pic.twitter.com/i0oNvsgK0D
— Kings Film Room (@SacFilmRoom) March 30, 2023
Kings fans flocked to G1C to see the beam 🟣🔦 pic.twitter.com/MKtiaoTNt1
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) March 30, 2023
As far as what’s next for the Kings, that remains to be seen.
Sacramento currently holds the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. It’s highly unlikely that the Kings will slide below that but at only two behind the Memphis Grizzlies and hold the tiebreaker. But only two games separate the Phoenix Suns — who hold the No. 4 seed — and the Minnesota Timberwolves who currently occupy the No. 7 spot and would be in the play-in tournament if the season ended today.
So, while the season is almost over, there are many variables to be sorted out before figuring out who the Kings will see in the playoffs.