Kings playoff tracker: Here’s where magic number stands following losses to Jazz, Celtics

Xavier Mascareñas/

The Kings took a couple of steps back in their playoff pursuits with two tough losses in a span of 24 hours, but they are still in prime position to secure their first playoff berth since 2006.

The Kings remained third in the Western Conference following a 128-120 loss to the Utah Jazz on Monday in Salt Lake City and a 132-109 loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday in Sacramento. Going into Wednesday’s games, the Kings were five games behind the No. 1 Denver Nuggets, 1 ½ games behind the No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies and 4 ½ games ahead of the No. 4 Phoenix Suns.

The Kings (43-29) got a needed day of rest Wednesday after playing five games in seven nights — four of them on the road — in four different time zones. They will resume their four-game homestand when they play the Suns (38-33) on Friday with the Jazz coming to town Saturday and the Minnesota Timberwolves visiting Monday.

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The road ahead will not be easy, but with only 10 games remaining, the Kings are all but assured of a playoff bid with strong odds of procuring homecourt advantage. The Los Angeles Clippers, who lost Paul George to a scary-looking right leg injury in Tuesday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, are 5 ½ games behind the Kings in fifth followed by the Golden Warriors. The Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks, Timberwolves and Jazz currently hold the four play-in spots in the West.

Here’s what the Kings have to do to end the longest playoff drought in NBA history — and the longest active streak in North American professional sports — after 16 consecutive losing seasons.

Record: 43-29

Current position: No. 3 in the Western Conference


Who they would play: If the playoffs started today, the Kings would play the No. 6 seed, the Warriors, in the first round of the playoffs.

Homecourt advantage: Yes, the Kings would currently have homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs, which will begin April 15.

Next up: The Kings will play the Suns on Friday at Golden 1 Center.

Games remaining: 10

Magic number for playoffs: 4

The Mavericks and Thunder were tied for seventh in the West at 36-36 going into Wednesday’s games. Either team could finish with 46 wins by going 10-0 to end the season. That means the Kings only need to win four more games to assure themselves of a better record, which would give them a top-six seed and an automatic bid to the playoffs. The Kings would win a tiebreaker scenario with Oklahoma City by virtue of their 3-0 record in the regular-season series. The Kings are 1-1 against the Mavericks with one more game to come on April 5 in Dallas. The Mavericks were scheduled to play the Warriors on Wednesday. Sacramento’s magic number will get smaller with every game the Kings win and every game their closest competitors lose.


Magic number for homecourt advantage: 4

The top four teams in the West will have homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The No. 5 Clippers and No. 6 Warriors only have nine games remaining. The Clippers would have to go 9-0 to finish with 47 wins. In that unlikely scenario, the Kings would only have to go 4-6 to match the Clippers with 47 wins, and Sacramento would win the tiebreaker for the No. 4 seed by virtue of its 3-1 advantage in the season series against Los Angeles.

Magic number for play-in tournament: 4

Utah is 10th in the West at 35-36 with 11 games remaining. An 11-0 finish would give the Jazz 46 wins. Again, that’s unlikely, but under that scenario, the Kings would have to win just four more games to assure themselves of a better record. The Kings and Jazz are tied at 1-1 in the season series with one more game to come March 25 in Sacramento.