The Sacramento Kings had a fantastic 2022-23 campaign that saw them finish as the third seed in the Western Conference, but they didn't manage to have the same sort of success this season, which saw them finish in ninth place in the West. The Kings' opponents were more prepared for the fast paced style of play, and Sacramento has not been quick to adjust to alternative schemes. Injuries are definitely a major reason for their subpar performance, but they still have a chance to salvage their campaign in the Play-In Tournament.

The Kings will not have Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk for their Play-In game against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night, which is a massive blow for their hopes of coming out on top. Guys like Keon Ellis, Harrison Barnes, and Davion Mitchell will need to surprise NBA pundits and put up some big numbers in order for Sacramento to pull off an upset. The Warriors are known to have the Kings' number, especially after their spectacular Game 7 victory at Golden 1 Center in last year's playoffs.

The lefty duo of De'Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis will need to play at a superstar level, while their defense will need to be somewhat respectable and limit Golden State to less than 110 points. Obviously, accomplishing these things will be easier said than done, but there is still one fatal flaw that will be extremely difficult for the Kings to overcome.

Kings fatal flaw: They are playing against Stephen Curry

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) drives to the basket between a trio of Sacramento Kings defenders during the fourth quarter at Chase Center.
Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

It's obvious to say, but the Kings rely heavily on their offensive production to win them games. There are instances where their defense is an afterthought, but that cannot be the case heading into their knockout match against Golden State. Even if the Warriors are the tenth seed, they went on a 9-3 run over their final 12 games just to make the Play-In Tournament, so it's clear they are riding high ahead of this game.

Golden State's perimeter shooting has been elite, so Sacramento must find ways to limit this strength. The Warriors do not have excellent slashers that will put a ton of pressure on the rim, but Sabonis' interior defense will be heavily challenged in this outing. Since these two organizations are extremely familiar with each other, Sacramento must figure out what they will sacrifice against a supremely talented roster.

One thing is for sure: the Kings cannot sacrifice going one-on-one against Stephen Curry for 48 minutes. He cooked them in a historic 50-point outing in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series last year, so Sacramento is aware how that kind of strategy will send them home quickly. Curry will be more rested than usual, as he did not play in their final regular season contest, so he has several days to recuperate his body, especially his mildly sprained ankle.

A Curry explosion in a one-game scenario would also be insurmountable for the Kings because he has the unselfish approach of involving lethal scorers like Klay Thompson and Jonathan Kuminga. Some squads may have the mentality of making Curry kill them but containing everyone else on the roster, but the Kings have the track record to prove that it is not an effective approach.

The sole production of Curry can go both ways, as limiting him to less than 25 points and a measly shooting percentage of 30 percent from the field could swing the tide for the Kings. The other key guys will have less space to chuck up shots or attack the paint, while the confidence of the Kings' ancillary pieces would naturally rise because they are the ones limiting Curry to unusually low numbers.

The contributions of Curry will dictate the outcome of the game, and the Kings must formulate most of their defensive schemes on the possibility of Curry dominating this winner-take-all game.