Kings Are Running Out of Time to Dig Out of Hole and Make NBA Playoffs

Time is running out. It may have already.

With the loss to the Washington Wizards on Monday evening, the Kings have put themselves in an unenviable position.

They have 16 games remaining on the schedule for the 2018-19 season. At 33-33, Sacramento is now four games behind the Utah Jazz for the eighth spot in the Western Conference playoff chase and four games behind in the loss column to the Jazz, Spurs and Clippers.

"This game sucks, this one hurts," Dave Joerger told reporters following the team's 121-115 loss in Washington.

Washington came into the game in a similar situation. Sitting on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt, the Wizards had been struggling lately. They had dropped two straight and seven of their previous 10.

After a quick start to the game, the Kings went cold in the first quarter. The game took on a very similar feel to the one they played in New York on Saturday morning, but the end result was different.

[RELATED: Watch Knicks owner Dolan ban fan from MSG in Kings' win]

"We shot ourselves in the foot in the first quarter, fought back," De'Aaron Fox told reporters. "In the game of basketball, we always know it's a game of runs."

After shooting just 28.6 percent from the field in the first 12 minutes of the game, the Kings recovered in the second quarter. They outscored the Wizards 40-31 in the second to take a 60-59 lead heading into the half.

The third quarter was a repeat of the first quarter. Sacramento struggled to score and then the turnover bug hit. The Kings turned the ball over 11 times in the second half, led by Fox's six.

Washington took advantage of the situation, scoring 25 points on the evening off of the Kings' 16 turnovers.

"We didn't make a couple of open shots, we didn't capitalize on opportunities in transition and we turned the basketball over," Joerger said.

Buddy Hield struggled with his shot, finishing the night with 15 points on 6-of-21 shooting from the field and 1-of-9 from long range. Bogdan Bogdanovic struggled as well, shooting just 2-of-7 from the field.

Even with Fox turning the ball over and both Hield and Bogdanovic missing shots, the Kings still managed to make it close.

Sacramento bounced back from multiple deficits to take a one-point lead at 112-111 with 3:41 remaining in the fourth, but Washington had one more run in them and the Kings failed to respond.

Scoreboard watching in Sacramento isn't new, at least not this season. The Kings players have kept a close eye on the standings and have watched both the Clippers and Spurs rattle off five straight wins to separate themselves.

San Antonio has pulled off stunning wins over the Thunder, Nuggets and Bucks during their run. After knocking off the Kings at Golden 1 Center on March 1, Los Angeles has rolled through the Knicks, Lakers, Thunder and Celtics.

Utah has the easiest remaining schedule, with an opponent's win percentage of just .402 over their final 16 games, but they aren't playing well. They've lost three out of four and they have a tough stretch to finish the season.

It doesn't really matter what Utah, San Antonio or Los Angeles does over the next four weeks if the Kings can't find a way to consistently get in the win column. There is still a glimmer of hope, but Sacramento has dug a hole. Climbing out of it won't be easy.

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