Kings must buck ugly Sacramento-era Game 7 history to beat Warriors
Kings must buck ugly Sac-era Game 7 history to finish off Dubs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Kings are in the NBA playoffs for the first time in 17 years, and right off the bat, they face a must-win Game 7 against the defending-champion Golden State Warriors.
But history isn't on the Kings' side when it comes to Game 7s during the franchise's Sacramento era, as Fox 40's Sean Cunningham highlighted.
The Kings have made it to the postseason now 11 times since moving from Kansas City to Sacramento before the 1985-1986 NBA season. In those appearances, they've played in a Game 7 three times -- and lost all three.
Will Sacramento be able to change that trend against the Warriors on Sunday at Golden 1 Center? No matter how it shakes out, the team is grateful for the opportunity to bring playoff excitement back to the 916.
"Just a great opportunity for us as a team," Kevin Huerter told reporters after the Kings won Game 6 on Friday at Chase Center. "Came in here with one goal in mind. That was to get back on the bus and go back to Sac. We fought all year for our positioning, to be in this position, and play home court on a Game 7 and, yeah, we'll bring it.
"Sacramento's been waiting for a playoffs, let alone a Game 7, against a team that's right down the street. We expect it's going to be electric, similar to the Game 1-type atmosphere, from both sides. I think both fan bases will represent well. It's a huge game. Obviously, a win or go home. It's been a great series so far, and obviously we're glad it's on our home court, but we got to bring it again."
The Kings finished the 2022-23 season as the Western Conference's No. 3 seed, earning a home-court advantage they certainly hoped might not have to come into play in a pivotal Game 7. But that's how things ended up, and now the Beam Team has a chance to make Sacramento history by winning the final game of their first-round NBA playoff series.
Kings star point guard De'Aaron Fox said Sacramento's win Friday was its "best game" of the season, and perhaps that will give the Kings momentum as they welcome the Warriors back to Golden 1 Center.
"It's a big opportunity," Fox told reporters. "Everybody doesn't get to experience a Game 7, and not a lot of people get to experience a Game 7 in Sacramento. But for us, coming in here, we were worried about one game, and that was tonight. We wanted to hit first, hit second, hit third, hit last, and I think we did a good job of that tonight. ...
"[Golden 1 Center is] going to be rocking. We've had loud games this year. Coming out for Game 1, I think our guys were amazed at what was going on. But going back there for a Game 7, I feel like -- like I said before, everybody doesn't get to experience a Game 7, but not a lot of people get to experience a Game 7 in Sacramento. So I feel like this is going to be -- it's going to be rocking."
RELATED: How Kings befuddled Warriors with Game 6 small-ball adjustment
Kings coach Mike Brown knows exactly what Sacramento is up against in his former team, the Warriors. But with home-court advantage and a raucous crowd behind them, he feels excited for the Kings' chance to clinch.
"That's part of the reason why we bust our behind all year, you know, trying to get as good of a record as you can during the regular season," Brown told reporters Friday. "Hopefully it will help benefit you in situations like this. We're excited. We’re going to go back home for Game 7, we're going to play in front of our fans, and our fans are going to be excited, and the town and the organization definitely deserve this.
"Now we just got to go out there and try to get it done."