Tonight was the final time fans of the Sacramento Kings would see their team live and in person, and the team made sure that they didn’t disappoint the most loyal fanbase in the NBA on Fan Appreciation Night.
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Omri Casspi continued his hot finish with 26 points, nine rebounds and six assist, as he led six Kings in double-figures in a 102-92 victory over the hated Los Angeles Lakers at Sleep Train Arena. Joining Casspi in the 20 point club was another King who has been reborn, Derrick Williams. Williams poured in 20 points, and he led a second-unit that was spirited and ready to do battle.
Ben McLemore was a no-show tonight, but with Casspi having the hot hand, Sacramento didn’t need the talented wingman to dump the Lakers for the sixth time in eight games at home.
The game was like what you would expect out of a tight rivalry game like the Kings and Lakers. The two teams, who are both headed to the NBA Lottery, were all knotted at 24 all at the end of the first quarter, and at 51-51 at the half.
Things were still tight going into the third, but this was the quarter the Kings began to pull away. Although Sacramento held a 75-74 lead going into the final stanza, Sacramento reached deep inside and pulled out a card that was rarely used this season – their defense.
Maybe it was the allure of fan appreciation night or what, I don’t know. But what I do know is that Sacramento held the lowly Lakers to just 18 points in the final quarter; and when the horn sounded the Kings ended up victorious.
It was fitting for Sacramento to close out their home schedule on a high note, as home was not really advantage for the Kings all season long. In fact, it was during a home-heavy schedule in the early part of the season where things began to go off the rails for the Kings.
But none of that matters tonight. The Kings got a home win, and against their hated rivals at that. Now it’s time for the Kings to head down south to Hollywood and repeat the good feeling of tonight.