Domantas Sabonis (d), a Kings player, attacks the basket against Portland. Steve Dykes (AP)
End to California's other great drought.
A series of storms caused the region to leave behind the three driest years in its history.
This Wednesday another bad streak that punished the region for 17 years has ended.
The Sacramento Kings have qualified for the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-2006 season.
Tonight's victory against the Portland Trail Blazers (120-80) puts an end not only to the longest absence in the postseason in professional basketball, but for any team in the four major professional leagues in the United States (NBA , NFL, NHL and MLB).
Sacramento's long-awaited win had been hard to come by.
The team, number 3 in the West (46-30), had been stroking the historic victory for several days.
They wanted to get it Monday at home against Minnesota, but were shut out in the fourth quarter by four points.
It was the third loss in the last five games.
Tonight, on the other hand, they took it out on a Portland that does not have Damian Lillard, injured in his right calf, and that has said goodbye to any chance of advancing.
The Kings, the third-best visitor in the NBA, asserted their status and beat their neighbors by 40 points with a great performance from their star duo, D'Aaron Fox, who scored 18 points, and Domantas Sabonis, with 15.
With Monday's setback in Sacramento, where the stadium was packed, fans were left without a chance to enjoy the huge coup that has energized a city that has only one professional team.
After each win, a player presses a large button that shoots a purple beam into the sky from the roof of the Golden 1 Center arena.
The signal, à la Batman, can be seen from almost anywhere in the capital of California.
One can be at home eating dinner or on the highway driving the car.
The jet means that the boys have won at home.
The light has normalized winning, something unthinkable not so long ago.
The Kings added 16 years with more losses than victories (the past were 30 wins for 52 losses).
The key this year has been the offensive scheme created by coach Mike Brown.
This is the first year in Sacramento for the coach, a veteran who spent the past six years as Steve Kerr's assistant at Golden State.
Brown has finally given a bit of stability to a team that has gone through eleven coaches and a change of ownership.
Brown has opted for an explosive attack led by point guard De'Aaron Fox and Lithuanian center Domantas Sabonis.
The pairing has made the Kings one of the most offensive quintets of the season, averaging 121 points per game (the highest mark since 1983-1984).
In February, they beat the Los Angeles Clippers in a double-overtime game by a score of 176-175, the second-highest score in NBA history.
Kevin Huerter lights up the Kings' lightning after his team's victory over Utah on March 25. LOREN ELLIOTT (Getty Images via AFP)
Rookie Keegan Murray has scored 14 points tonight.
Murray, who was selected in the fourth round of the draft by the Kings, leads the season in 3-pointers among
He tonight he scored his 188th triple, surpassing the mark set by Donovan Mitchell in 2017-2018.
Murray was five years old the last time the Kings played a postseason game.
It was on May 5, 2006 against the San Antonio Spurs.
Those from California lost in the first round.
The NBA was different back then.
In January of that year, Kobe Bryant played the legendary game against the Raptors in which he scored 81 points.
That year's champion, the Miami Heat, still had three 1990s veterans in Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning and Gary Payton.
Dwayne Wade was just a young man with two years in the league.
That season was the bitter end of a great run for the Kings, who arrived in Sacramento in 1985. The era began in 1999, when Rick Adelman came to the bench and was able to build a winning team around Chris Webber, Vlade Divac and Croatian Peja Stojakovic.
The team advanced to the next round during the eight seasons that Adelman was coach.
In 2001-2002 they lost the Western Conference final against the Lakers (3-4).
The Kings had 61 wins that season.
The Sacramento fans will be rewarded for their patience with the best performance since.
The team, younger and with less experience, will not reach 60 wins, as it only has six games left.
Some of the matches will be with teams looking to stay alive in the conference, like New Orleans, Dallas and the seventh-ranked Warriors.
The hardest for Sacramento is yet to come.
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