Brown’s classic response to how he will celebrate the Kings Division title originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
While the Kings entered the 2022-23 NBA season hoping to end their 17-year playoff drought, all four Pacific Division rivals were considered legitimate contenders for the championship.
But in the final week of the regular season, Coach Mike Brown and the Kings — not the Clippers, Lakers, Suns or Warriors — stand alone at the top of the division standings.
Sacramento (48-31) clinched its Premier League title since 2003 with a 121-103 win over the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center Tuesday night. No matter what happens in the postseason, there will be a banner in the Golden 1 center to acknowledge what Brown accomplished in his first season on the Kings bench.
How does the 53-year-old coach expect to monitor his team’s performance?
“We’re going to celebrate that tonight,” Brown said. “I’ll listen to my country music and have a modelo [beer].”
The beer will be more than deserved. When the Kings last won the division, Brown was a 32-year-old assistant coach under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio. Keegan Murray, the Kings’ coveted rookie, was three years old. Kings center Domantas Sabonis’ father, Arvydas Sabonis, was still playing in the NBA.
“It’s great, especially for the franchise,” Sabonis said Tuesday of the Pacific Division clinch. “They haven’t done that for a long time. It just shows the hard work that everyone in the organization has put in this year.”
If the playoffs started on Tuesday, all five Pacific Division teams would reach the postseason bracket. And all five have legitimate cases to represent the Western Conference in the 2023 NBA Finals.
Sacramento has a historic lapse. The Warriors are the defending champions. Phoenix made the biggest move to close with the takeover of superstar Kevin Durant. The Lakers saved their season as of deadline and still have two of the best players in the game in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers have the talent if they stay healthy.
The story goes on
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“We knew early in the season that our division was going to be tough,” Murray said after the win over NBC Sports California’s Kyle Draper and Matt Barnes. “I feel like after the trading deadline it got even harder.
“But we know the playoffs are a different season. We look forward to tackling it and taking action against them.”
Three regular season games remain before the Kings host Sacramento’s first playoff game in 17 years. They’re two games behind the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference rankings for the No. 2 playoff spot and can’t finish worse than third place.
After making the playoffs and winning the division, what’s the Kings’ plan for their last three competitions?
“Get on that bus, fly to Dallas and we’ll work that out tomorrow,” Brown said.
Fair enough. He deserves it.