Kings vs. Thunder Preview: BLACK UP II

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 26: DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Sacramento Kings celebrates after making a basket against the Los Angeles Lakers at Power Balance Pavilion on December 26, 2011 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Oklahoma City Thunder at Sacramento Kings
7:30 p.m. Pacific on TNT

This will be one of the few games ever where what happens on the court truthfully, for most viewers, comes second in importance to what happens in the crowd.

On the court, the best team in the West is visiting the second-worst. While the Kings are good at home and the Thunder aren't exactly unbeatable, this should be a blowout. But given the stakes in Sacramento, wins and losses are problems we can't afford to focus on solely. There's one game that looms larger than any on the court, and it comes up in a series of City Council meetings over the next few weeks. That game will decide whether we can see any more wins and losses on the court in the years to come. That game, the political one played out on closed-circuit webcast, not national TV, is the must-win.

But the fight of Sacramento fans and that must-win game are inextricably linked. Without the people of Sacramento fighting, without the mayor fighting, without the business and labor communities joining forces and fighting, we aren't here right now. We're commenting on section214's weekly Downton Abbey column. It's because of the people you'll see in the crowd tonight that we have a tonight. In many, many cases, those people are you. So, thank you. I have used italics and boldface so far in this paragraph, so while I really ought to move on to the next graf, I must use some underline because it's getting jealous. There. That's better.

Remember to set your DVR to TNT, not CSN Cali, for this one. Game's at 7:30. Let's hope the Celtics blow out the Lakers with no need for overtime in the opener of the double-header. Game threads at 7:30 and 9. Let's go Kings!

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