With just one day of games left in the 2022-23 NBA regular season, there appears to be a good chance that the Sacramento Kings will host the Golden State Warriors to start the playoffs.
Although the Warriors easily defeated the Kings, 119-97, on Friday night, Sacramento big man Chimezie Metu said his team isn’t “scared of them.”
“They’re the defending champs,” Metu said. “It’s going to be tough to go in there and get toe-to-toe, but we’re going to attack it head on. We’re not scared of them. We’re not scared of anybody, one through eight. We’re just going to go in there. We feel like when we’re at full health, we can go in there and beat them. That’s what we’re going to do.”
The Kings have been perhaps the league’s biggest surprise and feel-good story this season. Not many expected them to make the playoffs outright, but they have established a 48-33 record and will finish with the third-best record in the Western Conference.
They lead the NBA in scoring at 121.0 points a game and boast two legitimate stars in point guard De’Aaron Fox and big man Domantas Sabonis.
Sacramento rested a number of its key players on Friday against the Warriors, including Fox and Sabonis, a move that may have virtually guaranteed a loss.
Meanwhile, Golden State has been perhaps the NBA’s biggest enigma.
Coming off its fourth Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy in the last eight seasons, it has struggled inexplicably on the road, especially on the defensive end, which had been one of its biggest strengths whenever it had been healthy over the previous eight years.
On the other hand, Stephen Curry and company have done very well at home this season.
The team is still without star forward Andrew Wiggins, who has been out for a little less than two months while tending to a personal matter. According to a recent report, he is getting close to being ready to return to game action.
Although Wiggins is a very good two-way player, it will take more than his return for the Warriors to rediscover their old mojo.
In addition, it isn’t a given that they will make the playoffs outright. If they lose their regular season finale on Sunday at the Portland Trail Blazers, there is a chance it will end up in the play-in tournament. However, the fifth seed is also still in play for Golden State, which would be both a blessing and a curse, as it would mean a first-round playoff date with former Warriors superstar Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns.