Haven’t checked in for a while, and now it’s time to check out. And boy did the Kings ever check out on this monster trip, capping the five-game, seven-day roadie with a disastrous showing in Atlanta. They simply don’t look anything like a team that truly wants to be in the playoffs, and I have wondered more than once if the cumulative effect of this season’s unending dramas may have finally caught up with their collective psyche.
There are certainly individuals who want a ninth straight postseason appearance, but there is nothing close to a cohesive push that was there a year ago. Even coach Eric Musselman is sticking with the game-by-game approach, but you’d certainly think it was time to emphasize the opportunity at hand and make up the ground between them and the Warriors. After the Kings were done giving up a virtual dunk line and letting Zaza Pachulia look like an All-Star, Corliss Williamson said to me that the team needed some more “soul searching.”
As I see it, though, it’s way too late for soul searching. This team is probably going to continue playing unpredictably until the end, with the players themselves not sure what to expect every time out.
Nonetheless, fans who are actually intrigued by this Best of the Rest race may want to mark April 13 on the calendar. The Kings host Golden State in what could be a crucial game, with no lack of intrigue considering the Warriors’ 12-season playoff drought that included two seasons with Musselman at the helm.
-– Sam Amick