Kings Have 46 Wins, the Most by Non-Playoff Team Since Nuggets in 2018

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Sacramento Kings Have 46 Wins, the Most by Non-Playoff Team Since Nuggets in 2018

The Sacramento Kings lost 105-98 against the New Orleans Pelicans in Friday night’s play-in tournament, ending the regular season with 46 wins, the most by an NBA team to miss the playoffs since the Denver Nuggets in 2018.

De’Aaron Fox scored a game-high 35 points on 12-of-29 (41.4%) shooting from the floor. Domantas Sabonis had 23 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists. Harrison Barnes added 17 points, five rebounds, and four assists.

“That’s always the question: How do you become consistent?” star guard De’Aaron Fox said after scoring a game-high 35 points. “I think on the defensive end, I think that’s where we have to get there.

“It’s always a make-or-miss league, but if you’re able to be physical on that end of the floor, trying to keep your pace up as much as possible, then that’s kind of where the consistency of your play style comes into effect. Sometimes you make shots, sometimes you miss shots.

“Obviously, there’s something to build off of still. The West isn’t getting any easier, so obviously it’s a disappointment to not be in the playoffs, not be one of those top eight teams, but we have something to build off of, and you look forward to going into next season.”

Furthermore, New Orleans outscored the Kings 32-21 in the second quarter. Sacramento went on to allow six Pelicans to score 10 or more points, including reserves Larry Nance Jr. (13), Naji Marshall (11), and Jose Alvarado (10).

Sacramento Kings allowed 34 points from New Orleans Pelicans’ reserves, dropped to 0-6 against Pels

“You get 34 points from your bench, it’s a great night for them, a tough night for us,” Kings coach Mike Brown said.

“We were a little passive offensively and not all of us were aggressive with our play tonight,” Brown said, referring to Sacramento’s combined 4-of-17 shooting from young starters Keegan Murray (4-of-12) and Keon Ellis (0-of-5).

“We have to be able to get the ball in the paint,” added Brown, whose team was outscored 58-44 in the paint and shot 15-of-22 (68.2%) at the free throw line. “You’ve got to be able to finish and you’ve got to get to the free throw line and convert.”

Moreover, Murray finished with 11 points, seven boards, and three assists in 38 minutes of action. The second-year forward made just two 3-pointers at New Orleans after hitting eight of 13 against the Golden State Warriors.

“I feel like we had really good wins and we had really bad losses,” Murray said after the loss. “That’s something that the top teams in the West, they’re just consistent throughout the whole season.”

Of course, Brown believes Friday’s loss served as a learning experience for the University of Iowa product.

“I think Keegan could have been a little bit more aggressive,” Brown said. “He’s a young guy going through this and I’m sure [he is] gonna improve from it and realize what he can do better to help us going forward like everybody else.”

Additionally, New Orleans improved to 6-0 against the Kings this season, becoming the first team to go 6-0 in a season (without a playoff series) against an opponent since Denver against the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1994-95.

For back-to-back seasons, the Sacramento Kings have finished with 40 or more wins.