One final time on the road before coming home to close the season. Would be nice to be in the playoffs, but there is a lot of hope to build on from the end of the season. Read Kevin Pelton's INSIDER PREVIEW, it's good for your health.
Despite their low seeding, the Kings could be a very formidable playoff foe. Since Ron Artest made his Kings debut on Jan. 27, Sacramento is 25-14, a 53-win pace over a full season. Predictably, the 2003-04 NBA Defensive Player of the Year has had his biggest impact on that end of the court. With Artest in the lineup, the Kings - previously a middling defensive team - have allowed just 104.0 points per 100 possessions. Only three NBA teams - San Antonio, Memphis and New Jersey - have posted better Defensive Ratings over the full season. That might actually understate how good Sacramento has been defensively, because the league-wide rating tends to go up over the course of the season as defenses fatigue and offenses become crisper.