NBA releases 2022-23 schedule, Kings face two monster road trips
Breaking down the 2022-23 Sacramento Kings schedule
Schedule release day is usually unkind to the Sacramento Kings. The league doesn’t highlight teams that can’t win regularly and they also don’t reward clubs for missing the playoffs for 16 consecutive seasons.
The Kings open the regular season at home against the Portland Trail Blazers on October 19. It’s the first opening night home game for the Kings since the 2018-19 season and it comes against Damian Lillard and a revamped Blazers squad.
Following the home opener, the Kings have a two day break before hosting the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 22 at Golden 1 Center. They’ll face their first back-to-back and road game the next night when they travel to Chase Center to face off with new head coach Mike Brown’s former team, the Golden State Warriors.
Sacramento opens the season with four out of five at home. Following the Blazers, Clippers and Warriors contests, the Grizzlies and Heat roll through Golden 1 before the team heads out on the road for their first four game road trip of the season.
In these first five games, the Kings have a series of rest days, which is slightly strange for the opening two weeks of the season. The five games are played over an 11 day stretch.
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Despite a 30-42 record last season, the Kings are on the national television schedule for five game this season. The team has one game scheduled for Jan. 11 against the Rockets on ESPN and four games that will appear on NBATV.
That means that Kings players will at least get some extra exposure from a larger audience heading towards the All-Star break.
The Kings face two monstrous road trips this season, a six game East Coast swing with stops in Milwaukee, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto and Detroit from Dec. 7-16 and a seven game excursion that opens with two games in Minnesota, stops in San Antonio, Indiana and New Orleans before two games in Houston from Jan. 28-Feb. 8. Both elongated road trips have one set of back-to-backs. The second trip might be a make-or-break trip for the Kings leading up to the NBA trade deadline.
Sacramento has a total of 15 sets of back-to-backs, including five home-and-homes, two home-and-roads, five road-and-homes and three road-and-roads. Both of the Kings’ road trips to Utah come with a back-to-back at home the next night, which is not an easy task.
Down the stretch of the season, the Kings have a difficult schedule. They’ll finish the last 20 games with 10 at home and 10 on the road. Of those games, they’ll face 15 teams that made the postseason last year.
Month-by-month, the Kings play six games in Oct., 14 in Nov., 14 in Dec., 15 in Jan., 12 in Feb. and 16 in Mar. before finishing up with five in Apr. The March schedule is particularly tough, although nine of the 16 games are at home and they have short hops to Phoenix and two games in three nights in Portland to finish the month.
The most difficult game of the season comes on Mar. 21 when the Kings finish off a four game trip that includes stops in Boston, Brooklyn, Washington and Utah and then fly home for a back-to-back against the Celtics. If ever there were a scheduling loss, this is it.
Monte McNair has completely reset the coaching staff and roster in less than two seasons. Brown is the new head coach and he’s brought in a strong coaching staff to support the team. Only three players (De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes) remain from the team that McNair took over from Vlade Divac in September of 2020 and there is a solid buzz surrounding the Kings’ offseason.
Vegas has the Kings winning 32.5 games, which is four games less than their projected win total of 36.5 from last season. If they are to beat that prediction, they need to get off to a fast start, avoid losing streaks and steer clear of drama that has plagued the franchise over the last decade and a half.
The focus in Sacramento is on snapping the franchise’s 16-year playoff drought. The NBA didn’t do them any favors with two long road trips and a tough finish to the year, but every team plays the same amount of games.
Here are some additional games to look forward to this season:
Oct. 23: Kings at Warriors - Mike Brown faces his old team, receives his championship ring
Nov. 11: Kings at Orlando - Rookies Paolo Banchero and Keegan Murray battle for the first time
Nov. 20: Pistons at Kings - Kings get first look at Jaden Ivey, Marvin Bagley’s return
Nov. 23: Kings at ATL - Kevin Huerter faces former team for first time
Nov. 30: Pacers at Kings - Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield return to Sacramento
Dec. 27-28: Nuggets at Kings - NBA MVP Nikola Jokic visits for a back-to-back
Jan. 11/13: Rockets at Kings - Murray gets two shots at No. 3 overall pick Jabari Smith Jr.
Jan. 20: OKC at Kings - No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren rolls into Golden 1 with Thunder
Feb. 10-11: Mavs at Kings - Luka Doncic visits two nights in a row
Mar. 13: Bucks at Kings - Giannis Antetokounmpo makes his lone visit to Sacramento
Apr. 7: Warriors at Kings - Kings finish off home schedule against the Champs
Apr. 9: Kings at Nuggets - Final game of the 2022-23 season for Kings