The Sacramento Kings are close to clinching the National Basketball Association's Pacific Division title after a six-point (105-99) win here in Washington Wednesday night over the Wizards. But some people think this could be the year the Kings go all the way to the NBA championship.
The Kings are just one victory away from winning their division title with six games remaining, and are only three games behind the league-leading Dallas Mavericks and 1.5 behind the San Antonio Spurs for the best record in the NBA.
The win over the Wizards allowed Sacramento to improve its record to 3-1 on its current six-game Eastern road trip, which concludes against Boston Friday night and Philadelphia on Sunday.
But if the Kings are to make a run at the NBA title this season, they will almost certainly have their toughest challenge winning the Western Conference. Can they get past Dallas and San Antonio, and unseat the three-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers? The Wizards' Jerry Stackhouse says Sacramento's chances rest with Chris Webber.
"It all depends on 'C-Webb,'you know what I'm saying? If he comes in and is a dominant presence for them on the post, and plays aggressive, then they can be the World Champion," he said. "But, if he floats on the perimeter and shoots jump shots, it will be tough for them to win it."
After being told about Stackhouse's comments, Webber gave VOA Sports his reaction. "In a way, I think he's right. I just have to have the ball in my hands late in the game," he said. "But I have to make good decisions… You don't have to force a lot of shots, but I have to be prepared. You know, this is something I dreamed about for a long time, and so, if it's up to me, I'll make sure I'll do my best to get that goal accomplished."
Sacramento leads the Portland Trail Blazers by six and one-half games in the Pacific Division. Sacramento has six games left, while the Blazers have eight. But Webber says whoever advances from the Eastern Conference will provide stiff competition for the NBA crown.
"They are all pretty good. You have Detroit, you have the (New Jersey) Nets, I mean, you have a lot of good teams," he said. "Indiana is good. I don't think you want to ask for that. It's like picking a poison. Just getting out of the West (Conference) is going to be accomplishment enough."
Sacramento and the rest of the top Western Conference teams know the Los Angeles Lakers have played much better in the second half of the season than they did in the first. And even though the Lakers would be the seventh seed, if the playoffs were held today, they still have a chance to win it all again.