Three weeks ago, the Sacramento Kings were dead in the water, buried deep in the Western Conference standings with a chance at a playoff spot nothing but a dying ember.
But the Kings have found new life over the past three weeks and will host the swooning San Antonio Spurs on Friday with their postseason hopes restoked after a complete turnaround and recent dominance on the road.
The Kings head home carrying a four-game winning streak, all on the road, that included a 104-93 victory over Indiana on Wednesday. It was Sacramento's first undefeated four-game road trip since April 2003.
Marvin Bagley III led the way for Sacramento in the win over Indiana, scoring 31 points and taking 12 rebounds, both season highs. Delon Wright added 23 points, Buddy Hield hit for 16 and Richaun Holmes scored 12 as the Kings' starters combined for 90 of the team's 104 points.
Sacramento (29-37) has captured seven of its past 10 games to remain within reach of playoff contention, just 2 1/2 games in back of San Antonio for the 10th spot in the standings. The Kings' streak has been forged after a season-worst nine-game losing skid.
"We're doing a hell of a job," Bagley said after the game. "We're playing together. We're playing with passion. We're talking, communicating. Everybody's on the same page, man. I'm definitely excited about what we're doing. Now we've got to continue to keep this thing rolling."
Sacramento suffered no ill effects from playing the second of a road back-to-back after winning in Oklahoma City on Tuesday.
"Great road trip. Really happy with the guys," Kings coach Luke Walton said. "Tonight really showed what we've kind of been talking about all year, which is we know we're going to be OK offensively."
Sacramento played Wednesday's game without De'Aaron Fox (health and safety protocols), Harrison Barnes (left adductor tightness) and Tyrese Haliburton (left knee injury). Haliburton is expected to miss the rest of the season.
The Spurs (31-34) find themselves in a free-fall, losing 126-94 on Wednesday in Utah and dropping their fifth straight game.
Until this losing streak, San Antonio was in the running for the seventh spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament; now the Spurs are struggling to stay above the cut-off line, heading into Friday's game with a tenuous hold on the 10th position and final spot in the four-team play-in event.
Luka Samanic led the Spurs with 15 points off the bench, with Drew Eubanks and Devin Vassell adding 14 each and Tre Jones scoring 11 points. San Antonio shot just 40.2 percent and was outrebounded 53-35 in the loss to Utah.
"Our young guys performed well -- they competed, they executed," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "It's just hard to get away from the fact that our cup is pretty empty after some tough travel and tough losses and the schedule. I have to have a little empathy for that even though excuses are hard to make."
The Spurs were in the game until a 17-0 run for Utah over the end of the first quarter and the start of the second. San Antonio trailed by 37 points heading into the final 12 minutes.
San Antonio has seven games remaining in the regular season, with six of those -- all except Friday's contest in Sacramento -- against teams with winning records.
"I don't really keep up with it from game to game," Spurs center Jakob Poeltl said. "We can't control what the other teams do and if they win or lose games. At this point of the season, we just have to get as many wins as we can."
--Field Level Media