The Sacramento Kings are headed to the NBA Playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
With their 120-80 win over the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night, Sacramento snapped the longest playoff drought in NBA history and ended the longest current postseason drought of the four major American sports.
“We want to do bigger things, but 16 years – that’s a long time,” Kings guard De’Aaron Fox said.
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The last time the Kings made the playoffs – and finished the season with a winning record – Fox was just 8 years old.
“Definitely with this team, I think you’re just playing for a higher purpose,” Fox said. “And I think we have a team that’s capable and we know that we can continue to get better.”
The once-proud franchise has sat in the NBA’s basement for nearly two decades, a shell of its past teams that made the playoffs each year from 1998-2005.
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But the hiring of head coach Mike Brown in the offseason instilled life in the organization, leading a core of Fox, Domantas Sabonis, Keegan Murray and Kevin Huerter to the best offense in the NBA.
And while making the playoffs is a good start, it certainly is not the goal for the small market franchise.
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“We want to give [the fans] a lot more than we've given them so far already because they're more than deserving of it,” Brown said, according to ESPN. “And you know, when you have a fan base that's as intelligent, rather passionate about not only their team, but their city too, you could feel it's a prideful thing. You want the world for them, and you're excited about it. We want them to celebrate, but we, we also expect more from us and we expect to hopefully give them more.”
The Kings are 46-30 and will host a first-round playoff series in the Western Conference playoffs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report