NBA team´s first goal is to secure a play-off spot. That made or even theoretical chance gone, last few games of the regular season could be quite pointless. The Kings secured a play-off spot with their win over the Hornets two days ago, but they really need a win also tonight as that will keep their hopes alive to finish as a 7th seed in the Western Conference standings.
Situation is as follows. Sacramento has a record of 43-38, while the Lakers have a record 44-37. If the Kings will win tonight they must hope for the Lakers to lose tomorrow - that will give both teams a record of 44-38 after the regular season. As they tied their season series 2-2, tiebreaker rule says that to determine a better team highest winning percentage within the division (if teams are in the same division) will be taken into account. The Kings and Lakers both are in the Pacific division with the Kings having a better division record. Its obvious both teams would like to rather meet the Suns than the Spurs in the first round of the play-offs.
The Kings have been showing solid form over last few weeks. They have a record 8-2 over the last 10 games including wins over the play-off teams Spurs, Nuggets and Clippers. They will also have an homecourt advantage on their side, which historically has helped the Kings pretty much as the Arco Arena is one of the toughest places for away teams to play. Seattle is playing for nothing for a while now. They won`t lose on purpose, but then again they also won`t run out of their socks to win the games. The Sonics has gone 1-3 over the last 4 games as reserves are logging in more minutes than normally.
Motivation is the key here! The Kings need that win badly to avoid the Spurs (almost sure 1st round exit in p-offs) and keep their hope to meet the Suns (every Western Conference play-offs team can beat that out of sync team right now). The Sonics will play only for their pride. Driving on homecourt advantage and hot form lately the Kings should take this win and cover the spread here. Handicap –6.5 points with medium+ stakes!
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