The frustrated Sacramento Kings hope a swing through the Eastern Conference can help them get back on track.
The Kings will look to snap a season-high four-game losing streak when they visit the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Celtics.
For the second time in three games, Sacramento left the floor pleading for a goaltending call that never came after a 115-113 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.
Dallas’ Erick Dampier blocked Cuttino Mobley’s shot after it hit the backboard in the final seconds. This time the Kings had a better case than in a defeat to Phoenix on Tuesday, when Amare Stoudemire’s last-second block of Brad Miller’s shot appeared to be clean.
According to the NBA rule book, goaltending occurs if a defender touches “a ball after it has touched any part of the backboard above ring level, whether the ball is considered on its upward or downward flight,” as long as it has a chance to go in.
“It’s mind boggling how you miss that when the ball clearly hits the board first,” Kings coach Rick Adelman said. “It’s a shame that there is nothing we can do about it.”
Miller returned Friday after serving a one-game suspension for throwing a tantrum when his shot was blocked. The 7-foot center had 22 points and 10 rebounds Friday, and was the one to show restraint this time by holding on to Mobley, who wanted to go after the officials.
“If you fail to make a crucial play two nights in a row should you get fired for that?” Mobley said.
Mike Bibby scored 25 points and Chris Webber added 23 and 11 boards for the Kings, who have lost four in a row for the first time since dropping the last four games of the 1999-00 season. They have not lost five straight since dropping seven in a row to conclude the 1997-98 season.
The Kings will try to recover on the road, where they play nine of their next 10 games—all but one against East opponents. They are 13-2 this season against the East, and are averaging an 11.8 point margin of victory in those games.
Boston has won four straight and 13 of its last 16 games at the FleetCenter, averaging 105.6 points on 49.3 percent shooting from the floor in that span.
Raef LaFrentz added 15 points and 14 rebounds for Boston, which has won five of its last six games overall.
“Guys are coming together. Guys are sharing the ball,” Davis said. “All the bad habits are starting to creep out the door.”
The Celtics have won 14 of their last 18 home meetings with the Kings.