John Salmons is having visions of the Kings as a playoff team, which is significant mostly because he's not Ron Artest.
The Kings swingman said so after the Kings win at Milwaukee, nothing that if the Kings could steal a few wins on the road like they just did and continue to take care of business at home (where they're 8-4) then they could be playing well into April. Usually it's Artest making the playoff predictions, so this tells you something about this team's confidence level. And considering being .500 or above typically means you're in the playoffs, apparently most fans agree with John's assessment.
Here's a quick look at the upcoming four-game homestand...
Vs. Denver on Sunday - The Nuggets wrap up a two-game road trip (at Portland on Friday) that isn't long enough or scheduled in such a way for fatigue to be an issue. They just lost to a surging Portland team on Friday (the Blazers have won nine straight after starting 5-12), meaning tonight's matchup should be a good one. They've won four of their last six overall, including the 101-97 home win over the Kings in which they came back from a 13-point, third-quarter deficit but faltered late.
Vs. Boston on Wednesday - Two days between off teams games (one of them being Christmas Day) should help the Kings prepare, although repeating the defense played on Kevin Garnett in the last matchup would be a good start in this one.
Forward Kenny Thomas was solid in his defense, helping hold KG to 11 points and six rebounds as the Kings played better than I expected in their 90-78 loss Dec. 12. And Celtics center Kendrick Perkins is back in the starting lineup, which could be a good thing for the Kings considering substitute big man Glen "Big Baby" Davis was even bigger than normal with 16 points and nine boards.
The Celtics - who lost their Eastern Conference heavyweight bout to Detroit 87-85 at home on Wednesday for just their third loss - will also have had two days off before facing the Kings. This game will be the first of a four-game West Coast swing for Boston.
Vs. Philadelphia on Dec. 28 - If the Kings could beat them on the road, then they should beat them at home.
The Sixers are 4-7 on the road, although they've won five of their last seven overall. By the time they get to Sacramento, Philly will be starting a 10-day, six-game road trip. Andre Iguodala is still someone in need of defensive attention, even if Gilbert Arenas doesn't think he's a star (scroll the link to read it, but Arenas basically says Andre is a No. 2 option who wants to be paid like a No. 1).
Vs. Phoenix on Dec. 30 - The Kings nearly pulled off the upset on Nov. 20 at Arco Arena, with only a few differences between then and now.
They had Kevin Martin and the Suns didn't have Raja Bell. Nonetheless, they have shown an ability to compete with anyone at home and the Suns aren't as invincible as they were then after losing four of their last six. - Sam Amick