Mike Brown, Harrison Barnes list Kings' lessons learned in NBA playoffs
Brown, HB list lessons Kings learned in first five playoff games originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Kings quickly learned they could compete with other Western Conference powerhouses by winning 48 regular-season games and earning the No. 3 seed.
They knew they would discover even more about themselves in their first postseason test in 17 years. And five games into Sacramento’s playoff series against the Golden State Warriors, those lessons are pouring in.
“For us, it’s just realizing how close we are to where we want to be,” Kings veteran forward Harrison Barnes said after practice Thursday. “And also, just locking into the mental areas.
“[The Warriors] are going to make great shots. They’re going to make tough plays. That’s just a part of who they are. But look at anyone who’s playing in the league right now. You see great performances. But can we withstand that and continue to do what we do?”
The Kings won the first two games in front of a roaring, playoff-hungry sellout crowd at Golden 1 Center. They flopped in Game 3, were a Barnes buzzer-beater away from stealing Game 4 and came up short at home Wednesday in Game 5.
Brown made it clear when the playoffs began that the Kings aren't satisfied with simply erasing the 17-year postseason drought in California’s capital city. But even if the season ends in Game 6 on Friday night at Chase Center, it will be considered a successful first step for a team expecting to be championship contenders in the near future.
“First one is we’re more than capable of being a physical defensive team when we want to," Brown said. "That’s the biggest thing. On top of that, the sense of urgency is being shown for closer to 48 minutes now than it was almost at any time in the regular season.
“Our ability to compete no matter what the score is, you know you saw some of our resiliency during the regular season, and now to see it in this environment versus a championship-laden team is also a good thing, in my opinion, to see.”
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If the Kings win Friday night, they earn a chance to send the Warriors packing for the summer in Game 7 at Golden 1 Center on Sunday.
If they lose Game 6, they still will have gained invaluable playoff experience to build on next season.