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You Should Let Yourself Be Excited About the Kings

After 16 years of misery, you deserve it.

When was the last time you let yourself be excited about the Sacramento Kings? Not just "We are only a few years away" or "Next year's draft is looking good" or "Super team, just young" level of excitement, but real deal feel it in your bones excited? For me, it was on March 30, 2021, when I wrote what I thought might be my first and last commentary piece of my blogging career. In a dramatic reaction to the Kings winning five games in a row, I wrote about the Kings getting an identity makeover and finally cultivating a foundation of successful basketball. You know how they repaid me for this praise? By immediately going on a nine-game losing streak. Touché, Kings. I added this to the long list of times the Kings had let me down and proven that I am just another idiot with an internet connection and vehemently vowed to never write a commentary piece again.

Well, so much for that because here we are - I'm back, baby! I'm all in on the Sacramento Kings right now, and I've resurrected out of my self imposed retirement to tell you that you should be too - not just because there are a myriad of statistics and reasons to believe in this team, but simply because you deserve it.

I think most can relate when I say that I entered this season with  the usual approach of skeptical hope. All signs pointed to things being better. A new head coach, impactful roster moves, and a stellar rookie all logically computed in my mind that this team would be better than years past. And yet, I wasn't ready to be too hopeful. Years of disappointment had taught me otherwise. But we are now 14 games in, the Kings are the best team in California with a .571 win percentage, and I have released all of my inhibitions. I am having an out of body experience. I irritate my dogs every game night as I clap, yell, and dance around my living room. I talk about this team to family, friends, coworkers, and pretty much anyone who is too polite to ask me to shut up. I experience soul-crushing FOMO every home game I am not able to attend. I am ALL IN and it feels amazing.

If you haven't reached this point yet, I don't blame you. It makes sense to leave some excitement, joy, and pride in the reserves for now. It makes sense to not fully open your fragile purple heart to the brutal world that is NBA basketball. It makes sense to hold back on making any bold statements about a team that has only left you heartbroken and disappointed for the past decade.

But here's a counter argument to those points: it doesn't make sense to not let yourself full enjoy this moment.

After 16 years of turmoil, it has become clear that success worth celebrating in Sacramento is rare, unfamiliar, and prone to be taken away in an instant. So why not enjoy it while it's here? And it's here in a big way. In case you need some numbers and reasons to push you over the edge:

  • Kings have won 5 games in a row and 8 of their last 10. Big victories include wins over the the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Brooklyn Nets.
  • Head Coach Mike Brown is a revelation - he currently has the Kings at 2nd in the league in offensive rating and 7th in net rating.
  • De'Aaron Fox is playing at a supernova level (24.8 ppg, 6.4 ast, 37.5% 3 pt, 55.4% fg).
  • Kevin Huerter is the best 3-pt shooter in the league of those with 7 or more attempts per game (51.0% on 7.1 3pa).
  • The bench is legit. Kings are currently 2nd in the league in bench scoring at 42.8 ppg.
  • THE BEAM - it's got the city buzzing every game night and is a literal beacon of hope.

The thing I love most about being a sports fan is the low stakes, high rewards nature of it all. Obviously, the best thing that could happen is winning. Winning is euphoric. I get emotional just thinking about it. The worst thing that could happen? This all falls apart again and I was wrong about the playoff drought ending this season and the Kings never losing a basketball game again. And as terrifying as it has become in our digital age to be wrong about something, I remind myself of one simple thing: WHO CARES? You know who else is wrong about stuff every day? Literally every person on this planet. So I'd rather be wrong about this team than suppress my raw emotions and miss out on the opportunity to feel pure basketball joy in Sacramento again.

As dramatic and insane as I probably sound, I hope you join me. I hope you allow yourself to be excited, cheer like this team has never broken your heart before, hug a fellow fan, and experience the ecstasy of beautiful basketball in Sacramento. Simply because you deserve it.

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RandyBreuersNeckHair
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November 19, 2022 9:04 am

I’m excited. Loving every second of it. The best part is that it all feels so organic.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
November 19, 2022 9:06 am

My 13 year old caught the second half of the Spurs game with me. She is a basketball player so as she sat with me she noticed certain plays and sets unfold. Her knowledge of the game is really starting to click. She cheered along with me and commented that she couldn’t wait to talk to her friends, who are all Warrior fans, about how good the Kings look. She wore her Kings sweatshirt to school yesterday.

As we had dinner last night she asked when the next Kings game was because she wanted to watch it with me. That has never happened before.

If she sees it, then I believe it. This year definitely feels different.

Sacto_J
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November 19, 2022 10:17 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Wife is an “early to bed, early to rise” type. Like in bed before 9, up before 5. She watched the ENTIRE Nets game with me. First time that’s happened for a night game since we met. Then, to my surprise, she stayed up for the entire Spurs game. When the casual fan starts paying attention there’s goodness afoot.

deepshot22
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November 19, 2022 1:23 pm
Reply to  Sacto_J

I’m jealous. If my wife watched a game, the Kangz would show up for sure and I’d look like an idiot lol

ForKingsandCountry
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November 19, 2022 5:26 pm
Reply to  Sacto_J

Have a similar story with my wife. I got her hooked on basketball when we were dating and during the Nets she said, “they’ve never looked like this before”. We’ve been married almost a decade and she’s never seen the Kings be a good team. I think everybody can tell this feels a little different

Last edited 19 days ago by ForKingsandCountry
Klam
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November 19, 2022 10:27 am
Reply to  Adamsite

That’s so awesome. Hope she’ll finally be able to see the Kings make the playoffs!

R-man
November 19, 2022 9:31 am

The other thing that is so great is it’s such an enjoyable brand of basketball to watch. The ball moves. Different players contribute. Everyone works off Sabonis’s picks and passes. I don’t want to jinx things, but it reminds me a lot of Vlade and the ‘99 squad.

aplumley
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November 19, 2022 12:24 pm
Reply to  R-man

My 78 year old mom said “That Sabonis reminds me of Vlade. But he’s so much stronger”

deepshot22
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November 19, 2022 1:24 pm
Reply to  aplumley

And no flops. God, those were tough to watch.

sacm3bill
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November 19, 2022 2:46 pm
Reply to  deepshot22

Yep… except when they worked!

Hozr
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November 20, 2022 5:29 pm
Reply to  aplumley

Just imagine what Divac would have played like if he weren’t a chain smoker.

Watty4ever
November 19, 2022 9:38 am

Very exciting after all the wasted years and terrible mistakes in both coaching and personnel decisions, including the worst run of wasted lottery picks in the history of sports. McNair seems to have a vision and Kangz are on the verge of something with a ton of young talent and intelligent roster construction.

If they can convert HB and picks (players) into a true 3 (3 and D) who’s on the rise and find a rim protector, this team will get back to 50W territory. Exciting!

Jack
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November 20, 2022 6:42 am
Reply to  Watty4ever

tnless something really happens to the opposite right now I would keep Barnes. He is starting to understand his role on the team and a good man in the locker room. We need another good rebounder ( 8 the last game) and he drives well to the basket therefore shoots free throws. If he continues doing these things then Monty will have to decide what to do for next year. We draft a 3 ahd D player next year and possibly make a trade for a rim runner. I would not at this time disrupt the chemistry of the team.

Kosta
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November 19, 2022 9:39 am

KICK IT!

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Last edited 20 days ago by Kosta
Klam
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November 19, 2022 10:28 am
Reply to  Kosta

The Kings have other things to say about that…
comment image

fossilizedflatus
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November 19, 2022 11:34 am
Reply to  Kosta

The Sacramento Kings have changed from being a Charlie Brown team to a Mike Brown team.

Simple as that.

Last edited 20 days ago by fossilizedflatus
RPO
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November 19, 2022 3:16 pm

But Lucyfer Ranadive is still around. That’s what concerns me.

Daydreamer
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November 20, 2022 7:09 am

We have been Charlie Brown!

krswin
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November 19, 2022 9:53 am

I am also excited to see this team winning. Yes, it could come to a halt at any time, those nine game losing streaks were brutal. But until then, enjoy.

Sac_Dawg4
November 19, 2022 10:05 am

I’m ready to get my heart broken again

Sacto_J
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November 19, 2022 10:21 am

The Kings are right where I figured they could be, I just didn’t actually expect them to do it. I believe my Nostradumbass prediction was either 44 or 45 wins and you could make a case that they may even be better than that. 16 yrs, tho, and I’ll just appreciate that they don’t actually suck right now, are beating decent teams and are fun to watch, mostly. There’s a lot to like about this team, that’s for sure.

Yakshi
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November 19, 2022 10:56 am

Just eye test, but win or lose I felt that the effort has been stronger this season than in recent years. I haven’t yet had the all-too-familiar feeling that the team is just going through the motions on the court. The defense of course is still a work in progress, but I’m really curious to see how it comes along. Overall, the team just seems to have more heart. They’re so fun to watch.

Want2win
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November 20, 2022 7:53 am
Reply to  Yakshi

What I do like about the kings defense is that they seem to be able to turn it on for spurts when needed. Maybe not so much the first 4-5 games but we have seen glimpses of it. The good kings teams 99-05 could do that too for short stretches

Kingsguru21
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November 19, 2022 11:07 am

Before the season, I predicted a 45 win team and the possibility of a top 7 ORtg. I’m blown away by how good, how early this team is. I don’t think 50 wins is off the table right now because if you look at the last 10 games or so, the Kings have the 2nd highest ORtg in the NBA and the 17th highest DRtg. You can create a 50 win template out of those types of numbers.

Having said that, what’s nice is not only are the Kings good, they’re also fun to watch and it’s a lot of fun watching this team figure out ways to win when opponents actually throw different looks (like what San Antonio did the other night).

Hopefully it continues, this fanbase needs a fun and successful team to root for again. It’s been too long.

RPO
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November 19, 2022 3:18 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Gotta give you props for sticking with your preseason prediction, even after the 0-4 start. I was starting to lose faith.

Kingsguru21
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November 19, 2022 6:19 pm
Reply to  RPO

Appreciate that RPO. But….82 games is a long season. It ain’t over ’till it’s over like the man said.

ForKingsandCountry
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November 19, 2022 5:33 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

You know after the 0-4 start I posted that teams were shooting an insane percentage on contested 3’s against them even though they were generally contesting 3’s at one of the highest rates in the league. That was bound to regress but what’s crazy is it hasn’t regressed a ton yet! I think that’s why the overall defensive rating is still relatively low. If that comes down to anything near league average, which it should, watch out.

Kingsguru21
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November 19, 2022 5:50 pm

You know what didn’t help either? Garbage time in the 4th qtr against Brooklyn. Devin Vassell tieing his career high the other night. Steph Curry going supernova in SF one Monday night.

But these things happen. And they tend to balance out over 82. For instance, the Kings won’t see Cade Cunningham tomorrow or Ja Morant and Desmond Bane Tuesday in Memphis. That’s an opportunity to really improve your DRtg overall to get it closer to the 15-20 range (like it’s been these last 10 games) especially as things start to normalize.

You’re right though regarding the contested shots. And we shall see, but I think by the time it’s said and done there’s a pretty high likelihood the Kings are top 5 in ORtg and 17-22 in DRtg at the end of the season.

AnybodyButBagley
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November 19, 2022 5:55 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

What matters in order to make the playoffs?

Ortg? DRtg? Or wins?

ForKingsandCountry
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November 20, 2022 12:10 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Yeah I think if the Kings finish inside the top-20 in DRtg and inside the top-5 in ORtg then we’ll be a top-8 seed. I can’t quite get to top-6 but I think it’s theoretically possible. And I sure wouldn’t want to see this team in the play-in either. Especially with two chances at it.

Kingsguru21
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November 20, 2022 10:54 am

Yeah I think if the Kings finish inside the top-20 in DRtg and inside the top-5 in ORtg then we’ll be a top-8 seed.

I think they’ll be in the mix for a top 6 seed. Last year, your top 8 was:

1) Phoenix (64-18) 4th ORtg, 3rd DRtg, 2nd NetRtg
2) Memphis (56-26) 5th ORtg, 4th DRtg, 5th NetRtg
3) Golden State (53-29) 17th ORtg, 1st DRtg, 4th NetRtg
4) Dallas 15th (52-30) 15th ORtg, 6th DRtg, 7th NetRtg
5) Utah (49-33) 1st ORtg, 11th DRtg, 3rd NetRtg
6) Denver (48-34) 6th ORtg, 15th DRtg, 12th NetRtg
7) Minnesota (46-36) 8th ORtg, 13th DRtg, 10th NetRtg
8) LA Clippers (42-40) 24th ORtg, 8th DRtg, 18th NetRtg

I’ll add the other 2 spots.

9) New Orleans (36-46) 19th ORtg, 20th DRtg, 21st NetRtg
10) San Antonio (34-48) 18th ORtg, 16th DRtg, 17th NetRtg

Your point is certainly true that having a top 10 offense and defense is usually what it takes to finish top 4 in your conference. Nor am arguing with you. But, what’s really important is where you finish in Net Rtg. And the Kings are currently 7th (on BRef) or 8th (NBA.com) in Net Rtg.

That’s why I believe. I think being in the top 8th in Net Rtg is a good sign and positive trend. But we’ll see. There is alot of season left.

ScottyPop
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November 19, 2022 11:15 am

Great article and advice.

Everyone should enjoy the vibe right now because, fuck it, we deserve it

Go Kings!

Sportsfan957
November 19, 2022 11:21 am

“not just because there are a myriad of statistics and reasons to believe in this team, but simply because you deserve it.”

I disagree. After 16 disappointing seasons, we have definitely “earned” it. 😝

Ellis5
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November 19, 2022 11:31 am

comment image

RikSmits
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November 19, 2022 11:51 am

I’m at the enjoying it one game at a time-phase, without having real long-term expectations yet.

A few things make that very easy:

  • likeable players and coaches;
  • entertaining basketball (I love ball movement and BBIQ)
  • decent effort on D, even though the results aren’t there (yet?).

Excited to see what they do next game.

satdawg
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November 20, 2022 12:42 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Lots of high character guys like Davion, Kevin, Fox, Lyles, Sabonis, Barnes, Murray. That’s half the roster already

SacReligious
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November 19, 2022 1:19 pm

I can’t believe how much this season reminds me of the ’98/’99 Kings. After years of irrational fan optimism being rewarded by chronic ineptitude (sound familiar?), the Kings brought in a new coach (Rick Adelman), swung a big trade (Mitch Richmond for Chris Webber), and added an impactful free agent (Vlade Divac) and a couple of promising rookies (Peja Stojaković and Jason Williams). The entire energy of the team seamed to shift overnight, and it just felt different. They didn’t set the NBA world on fire that season, but turning a 27-55 record to a (strike-shortened) 27-24 record was enough to set Sacramento on fire. The Kings lost in the first round of the playoffs, but in hindsight it’s pretty clear that season was the start of the Kings greatest era. So yeah, let’s get excited.

AmateurNerd
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November 19, 2022 1:44 pm

Insert “I am ready to be hurt again” GIF

UsedToLoveTheKings
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November 19, 2022 1:48 pm

What would make me ecstatic is to change my user name on this site…voluntarily.

cloudyeyes
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November 19, 2022 1:51 pm

This team reminds me of when the 1996 Kings made the playoffs for the first time in Sacramento history. It was 10 years since the Kings first moved to Sacramento. Mitch Richmond led the way, everything was built from the ground up. Then, in 98, the Kings made a controversial trade in their star player, Mitch, for an all-star who didn’t want to be here – Chris Webber. What a trade that turned out to be in hindsight.

Kosta
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November 19, 2022 2:03 pm
Reply to  cloudyeyes

Didn’t they make the playoffs their first year in Sacramento?

But, yes 1996 was awesome. I remember even the season before that they almost made it (same regular season record).

I remember thinking 10 years of no playoffs was an eternity. Man….who would’ve thought we could get through 16.

Kingsguru21
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November 19, 2022 2:14 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Didn’t they make the playoffs their first year in Sacramento?

Indeed. Made it as the 7th seed and a 37 win team. Got blanked by Houston in 3 games though. 1996 was the year they first won a game in the playoffs in the Sac era.

BuffaloDiaspora
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November 19, 2022 9:41 pm
Reply to  cloudyeyes

The Hali/Sabonis trade may go down as the biggest win/win ever – both teams traded their most promising player at a position where they had excess. The Kings got dragged over it last year, but there’s simply no way that either team is angling for a true playoff spot without that trade.

I was definitely in the lottery-afinity group after the 0-4 start but this team looks insanely good over the last 10 games. With correct calls, they could easily be at the top of the West (though I don’t think they are actually *that* good)

Last edited 19 days ago by BuffaloDiaspora
NinjaFetus
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November 19, 2022 2:18 pm

I’ve only been to 1 Kings game since the last time they were in the playoffs, and it was only because my friends bought me tickets for my birthday. I had vowed that I wouldn’t go to a game until they made the playoffs. They way they’re playing this year, and the feeling along with it so far, I’m actually looking into getting tickets. I just can’t decide which game.

Didn’t get to see the Nets game, I’m pissed about that. But watched the Spurs game and I think the best play was the Trey Lyles throwdown and stare.

Jack
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November 20, 2022 6:47 am
Reply to  NinjaFetus

I hope people realize when we got Sabonis we also got Lyles.

Daydreamer
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November 20, 2022 9:00 am
Reply to  Jack

Didn’t we get Lyles in the Bagley trade?

RattleSeattle96
November 19, 2022 6:55 pm

Man it’s early but I’m hyped. The offense is beautiful and fun to watch. The greatest show on court 2.0

RobHessing
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November 19, 2022 7:36 pm

I’m wearing my Kings merch again, even during daylight hours!

Last edited 19 days ago by RobHessing
RPO
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November 19, 2022 9:19 pm
Reply to  RPO

Hmm… I thought the picture would show.

Ellis5
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November 19, 2022 9:22 pm
Reply to  RPO

comment image

Ellis5
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November 19, 2022 9:23 pm
Reply to  RPO
Last edited 19 days ago by Ellis5
RobHessing
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November 19, 2022 9:45 pm
Reply to  RPO

Nailed it.

Ellis5
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November 19, 2022 9:18 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

on the bandwagon?

RobHessing
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November 19, 2022 9:47 pm
Reply to  Ellis5

On the bandaidwagon.

Ellis5
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November 19, 2022 9:58 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Yes we are. And Scotch literally tastes like bandaids… Don’t ask me how I know because science.

BuffaloDiaspora
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November 19, 2022 10:04 pm
Reply to  Ellis5

You are not drinking the correct scotch

Ellis5
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November 19, 2022 10:31 pm

I drank enough and discerned it’s garbage.

BuffaloDiaspora
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November 19, 2022 10:40 pm
Reply to  Ellis5

I would invite you to a Johnnie Walker Blue tasting

Ellis5
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November 19, 2022 11:11 pm

Is there a different color that doesn’t taste like dirt?

RikSmits
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November 19, 2022 11:32 pm
Reply to  Ellis5

I think with “dirt” you are referring to the peaty tones?

I don’t like whiskey that is too peaty, so I recommend Irish whiskey. I quite like Teeling single grain. Much less of an earthy flavour.

ForKingsandCountry
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November 20, 2022 12:12 am
Reply to  Ellis5

Easy solution, drink bourbon. I like the single barrel Winchester but if you want to go all out, try Garrison Brothers. Can’t really beat it IMO.

Last edited 19 days ago by ForKingsandCountry
Ellis5
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November 19, 2022 9:45 pm

Yeah that Blazers/Tanking Jazz game was lit. Jazz don’t look like they’re missing much winning back to back on their west coast road trip.

BuffaloDiaspora
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November 19, 2022 10:09 pm
Reply to  Ellis5

I’m not sure either team is really as good as their record

Ellis5
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November 19, 2022 10:35 pm

Did you watch them play basketball?

BuffaloDiaspora
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November 19, 2022 10:39 pm
Reply to  Ellis5

Tonight? No. In general, yes.

Ellis5
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November 19, 2022 11:00 pm

Welcome to NBA basketball

BuffaloDiaspora
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November 19, 2022 10:03 pm

Before the season I was just hoping everyone was going to try hard and have a good time and maybe win 35 games or, like, 5 games. Instead, given the absolute chaos in the West combined with the otherworldly offensive play by the Kings I think they can make a deep playoff run. They’re not remotely a championship competitor, but making the WCF and getting waxed by a vastly superior Memphis or Phoenix team is not out of the question.

This team can score a bajillion points on anyone and they are fun as hell and they have a gigantic laser beam to wage war on the sky. It’s awesome and we should apologize for nothing.

EastCoastKingsFan
November 22, 2022 5:23 am

What a beautiful take. Thank you

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