Which team will get back to the NBA playoffs first?

Leading Off: Will Kings beat Lakers back to NBA playoffs?

Published: Sunday, Mar. 23, 2014 - 9:10 pm
Last Modified: Monday, Mar. 24, 2014 - 9:42 am

This, that and the other thing:

• The Kings have finished in last place five times since their most recent playoff appearance in 2006, so it’s been rare when they can look at another team below them in the Pacific Division standings this late in the season.

It’s even more rare when it’s the Los Angeles Lakers.

But injuries to Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash and an aging roster have the Lakers on the verge of their worst record since winning just 30 games in the 1974-75 season.

The revamped Kings haven’t had key players miss many games – other than 10 by DeMarcus Cousins for injuries, a suspension and being tired – yet they still will be a lottery participant for the eighth consecutive season.

But if you had to bet which team would be the first to regroup and qualify for the NBA playoffs while the other continues to wallow in muck, would you pick the Lakers or Kings?

• Basketball fans of a certain age are probably pulling for the San Antonio Spurs’ “Big Three” of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili to win a fourth title this summer.

The Spurs’ trio recently passed the Lakers’ 1980s “Showtime” threesome of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper for second place on the NBA’s All-Time “Big Three” list for wins. Those Lakers (490 wins) and Spurs (495) are only topped by the 1980s Boston Celtics trio of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish with 540.

Duncan is 37, Ginobili 36 and Parker 31, and there’s no guarantee the Spurs’ trio will be together next season to challenge the Celtics’ record.

• It will be fun to see how long the Dodgers and manager Don Mattingly will put up with Yasiel Puig blaming an injury every time he strikes out, gets thrown out on the basepath or makes an error in the outfield.

The belief is they’ll put up with his whine as long as they win.

– Victor Contreras


Today’s poll

Which team will get back to the NBA playoffs first ?

• Kings

• Lakers

Vote above, or go to sacbee.com/sports

Friday’s results

Who will win the NBA championship?

• Indiana: 14%

• Miami: 20%

• Oklahoma City: 18%

• San Antonio: 42%

• Other: 7%

Total votes: 148

Read more articles by Victor Contreras

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