The Kings’ return to the NBA playoffs was an out-of-this-world experience for fans

The Kings’ return to the playoffs was “out of this world” for fans. originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The clock struck zero in the 2022-23 Sacramento Kings Cinderella story.

However, it wasn’t the midnight stroke that turned the carriage back into a pumpkin. Just the opposite.

It meant one thing: Playoff basketball is returning to Sacramento after the Kings defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 120-80 Wednesday night at the Moda Center in Portland get their first berth after the season since the 2005/06 season.

“Out of this world,” Kings fan Chuck Bryan said Monday night about what a postseason return means.

Bryan and his wife Sharon have been season ticket holders since 1985, when the Kings first came to town from Kansas City.

While the Bryans, like most fans, had hoped the Kings would win in Sacramento, they conceded ahead of Monday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves that simply winning would be surreal.

For the fans who The wait had been long. Sixteen seasons to be exact.

And those 16 seasons included fighting moves to Virginia Beach, Anaheim and Seattle.

Falling into this “basketball hell,” as one former player called it, Sacramento made its mistakes in the NBA draft, had little to no success attracting talent even after the state-of-the-art Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento had been built and had grown into a coaching hub.

Now the Kings are boasting a potential – some might say probable – Coach of the Year nominee.

“Mike Brown in my book, we should put a statue of him out there,” longtime Kings fan Patti Anderson said during Monday night’s game.

Anderson, who is known to Sacramento fans for her Kings onesie, has been coming to games since the 1980s and says that season was incredibly emotional.

“Every night it’s close to a heart attack,” Anderson said. “I mean, I want so badly that we win. I want it, but they want it.”

For some on the team, the wait had been years.

De’Aaron Fox, the Kings’ longest tenure in his sixth season with the team, reached his first All-Star Game this season and has a potential All-NBA team opportunity.

Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes are each in their fourth full seasons with the Kings; Barnes was a mid-season acquisition in 2018-19, so this is his fifth year at Sacramento.

For the fans it was the perfect storm. An unforgettable season.

But when did you get the feeling that things could be different this season?

“Oh, probably after seven or eight games of the season,” says Chuck Bryan. “The chemistry was right and they played well together.”

That eighth game happened to be Fox’s game-winner in Orlando and it came just over a week after the Kings started the season 4-0.

RELATED: Sabonis, Brown share heartfelt message to Kings fans after clinch

This win put the Kings’ record at 3-5. Their next game, a hard-fought loss to the Warriors, was followed by a seven-game winning streak – the longest such winning streak since 2004-05 – and the rest was history.

This “history” may not mean much to fans of teams that “have been there before,” but for Kings fans, the wait was long and the payout was special, to say the least.

“You know,” Anderson said. “If my grandson came and said to me, ‘Grandma, we’re finally expecting a baby,’ it might be the second [to a Kings clinch].”

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