Despite the rumblings going on between franchise player DeMarcus Cousins and coach George Karl in Sacramento, they managed to snap a five-game skid to complete their first regular season sweep in franchise history of state rivals the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday evening.
The Kings emerged from the Staples Center with a 106-98 victory behind a pair of 22 points from Darren Collison and Cousins. Rajon Rondo also weighed in with a customary 12 assists as the visitors took full advantage of 22 careless turnovers from the hosts.
Founded in 1948, the franchise had found a few different homes on the east coast in Missouri, Ohio and New York before finding it's way to sunny Sacramento in 1985.
Article continues below
The Kings have won two Pacific Division titles since then back in 2001 and 2002, the first of which resulted in a playoff run that was ended by the Lakers in the Western Conference finals.
However, in the last nine seasons, the Kings have finished no higher than eleventh in the competitive West and no higher than fourth out of five in the divisional standings.
Article continues below
During that time, the Lakers have been to the NBA Finals three times, emerging victorious twice.
But, this is a different time in California. Coach Karl appeared relieved that the recent tension in his ranks hadn't prevented his troops from making history.
"Anytime you win a game on the road by [eight] points and sustain the tempo and emotion of the game, it's good," Karl said. "It's good to get out of our funk and off the losing streak and put some joy back into the locker room. It's another step in a good direction."
A fine performance from Collison spawned six assists on top of his game-high points haul, and the 28-year-old believes a high-energy start was the key to their success.
"We got off to a really bad start against Utah, so our focus tonight was to get off to a really good start tonight," Collison said. "Our defensive presence had an impact early on, and everything took care of itself. If there's anything we can learn from this year, it's to get off to good starts and make sure we have a lot of impact on the game before they do."
Of course, winning all for encounters, including two road trips, is pretty conclusive evidence of the gulf between the two sides at this stage. Considering the Lakers - who currently prop up the Western Conference - are only four places below their rivals, it doesn't make good reading for the progress Byron Scott's men still have to make.
The Lakers coach seemed as frustrated as anyone, indicating the Lakers own deficiencies led to the Kings historic triumph.
"Obviously, we didn't do a good job of handling the pressure," Scott said. "They are a steals type of team, a gambling type of team, and we just didn't react well to it."