The Kings played Los Angeles in the season finale with the dark cloud of relocation looming overhead. A packed house, a gritty effort by the Kings, a double-digit deficit, a feverish comeback, a hot-handed shooting guard throwing daggers, falling just short. Fans refusing to leave. Grant and Jerry with an emotional sendoff, followed by a highlight package with a touching song and a grown man crying in his living room.
Lots of similarities. We’ve been here before.
But tonight just felt different. There’s hope this time.
The maximum 17,317 jammed into Sleep Train Arena. For the last time ever? Nobody knows but that wasn’t the vibe. It was the last chance THIS SEASON for the Sacramento faithful to cheer on their team. Their Sacramento Kings. The gear, the chants, the signs, the purple, the passion…you can’t beat it.
And how could you not be proud of your team? Your 28-54 team. Can you find fault with a single player on this night? Hell no. These are our players, they recognized the magnitude of this game, and they came to play.
DeMarcus Cousins putting aside the theatrics and punishing the Clippers (best game ever for DMC?). The surprise of Travis Outlaw rescuing the Kings early. Marcus Thornton doing what Marcus Thornton does — dropping bombs in crunch time. Keep going…Isaiah going toe-to-toe with Chris Paul, Jason Thompson classy and effective during and after the game, Pat Patterson further endearing himself to Kings fans with relentless effort.
Love every single one of them.
The Clippers got the win. In the end, a star-studded lineup overcame our loveable losers. Didn’t matter. Sacramento won again Wednesday. The city showed out. And they didn’t leave at the buzzer. Thousands stuck around deep into the night. Grateful players, like Thompson and Thornton, returned to the court, signing for fans and expressing their thanks to a fanbase that has supported them regardless of wins and losses.
That’s all we can do. We left it all on the court. And now we leave it in the hands of the NBA to do what’s right.
All the similarities between 2011 and 2013. All we ask is for one more…
Our Kings staying in our town — SACRAMENTO.