The Sacramento Kings nearly knocked off the Eastern Conference’s best team. Now they get a chance to snap an 0-25 skid against the East when they visit that conference’s worst squad.
The Kings look for just their fifth road win of the season Sunday night when they try to snap a seven-game losing streak to the lowly Washington Wizards.
Sacramento (14-51) lost its second straight Friday, falling to Cleveland 126-123 in overtime. Kevin Martin paced the Kings with 34 points, but Sacramento could not maintain a 14-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, or LeBron James, who scored 51.
“LeBron James was phenomenal again. We’ve all seen that show before. He put on another one tonight,” said Sacramento interim coach Kenny Natt, 8-33 since taking over for the fired Reggie Theus. “I wasn’t looking at the points he scored, I just know that LeBron’s going to have the ball. He’s going to take control of the team and put the team on his shoulders and carry them.”
Sacramento, which has one of the NBA’s worst scoring defenses, allowed 112.0 points per game during its 1-3 stretch at Arco Arena. The Kings, though, could have an easier task when they open a four-game Eastern trip against a Washington team averaging just 94.8 points.
The Wizards, however, have scored 103 or more in three of their last four.
In the teams’ first meeting this season, Washington (15-51) won its seventh straight over Sacramento, 110-107 on Jan. 21 behind 33 points and nine rebounds from Antawn Jamison.
The Kings’ last win over the Wizards was 110-108 in Washington on Feb. 27, 2005.
Jamison, who had only seven points and three rebounds in that loss, scored a season-high 36 in Friday’s 112-103 defeat to Southeast Division-leading Orlando. Washington has dropped two straight and nine of 11.
“I thought we sustained our effort pretty well this evening,” interim coach Ed Tapscott told the Wizards’ official Web site. “Our young guys got some good experience against one of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference. It was a good effort.”
Nick Young, a second-year guard, scored 20 off the bench as the Wizards fell to 0-14 this season against division foes.
With a roster already decimated by injuries, Washington possibly lost another key contributor as Caron Butler was sidelined the second half with a tight hamstring.
Butler had 32 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the Jan. 21 win over Sacramento. He said he’s unsure whether he’ll be able to play Sunday in the finale of a three-game homestand.
Andray Blatche scored 20 against the Kings in the first matchup this season but could be slowed Sunday after twisting his left ankle versus the Magic.
“Nothing is really surprising me anymore, as far as guys getting hurt and not being able to play,” Jamison said.
Sacramento is an NBA-worst 4-28 on the road. Washington, meanwhile, has dropped five of six at the Verizon Center, where it’s 10-24.