Kings’ NBA In-Season Tournament group-play standing after win vs. Wolves

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Kings’ NBA In-Season Tournament group-play standing after win vs. Wolves originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The Kings are one win away from punching their ticket to the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament quarterfinals.

Sacramento improved to 3-0 in West Group C play Friday with a 124-111 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. A few hours later, the Golden State Warriors defeated the San Antonio Spurs by six points to earn their second In-Season Tournament win and set up a huge matchup with Sacramento on Tuesday at Golden 1 Center.

Buckle up.

The Kings control their own destiny. If they beat the Warriors on Tuesday, they win Group C and advance to the In-Season Tournament quarterfinals. If they lose to Golden State, they can still advance to the knockout stage by having a better point differential than the Warriors and Timberwolves or as the Western Conference’s wild card, a spot determined by tiebreakers in this order: head-to-head record, point differential and total points scored.

“It’s great. I think it’s a great thing to engage fans, engage the team,” Kings forward Trey Lyles said to NBC Sports California’s Deuce Mason and Morgan Ragan on “Kings Postgame Live” on Friday. “Every game matters, but it just makes them a little bit more competitive for the whole league just because we’re playing for another championship.

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“It’s fun for everybody involved.”

Elsewhere in West Group C, the Oklahoma City Thunder (1-2) and San Antonio Spurs (0-4) are eliminated. The Timberwolves (2-1) still could win the group stage with a victory over the Thunder combined with a Warriors win over the Kings on Tuesday with some help in tiebreakers.

The NBA In-Season Tournament is in its experimental phase, but it’s clear players and coaches are buying in. Kings coach Mike Brown kept his starters in down the stretch Friday despite being up double figures because total points scored and point differential matters in In-Season Tournament tiebreakers.

De’Aaron Fox, who finished with 36 points and 12 assists against Minnesota, scored a bucket with one second left in the fourth quarter to put Sacramento up 13 points.

“It was definitely big for us,” Fox said of the In-Season Tournament win. “You see how guys are playing – you try to play to the end, point spread matters. Obviously, we were the top two teams in our bracket, so those things definitely matter. You see it when you’re out there.”

Sacramento’s win over Minnesota snapped a two-game skid and wrapped up a long six-game road trip. The Kings (9-6) have three days off before returning to action Tuesday.

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Beat the Warriors at home in a game that marks Draymond Green‘s return from suspension and advance. That sounds familiar.

Is it Tuesday yet?