Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
In attendance for Saturday's blowout loss to the Nuggets, Greg offers his perspective from within the Pepsi Center. Unfortunately, it looked just about as ugly in person as it did on TV.
Living in Colorado, I'm rarely afforded the opportunity to view the Kings in person. Even on the few occasions each season when the Kings visit Denver, the stars don't always align for me to make the hour-long trek to the North, or for me to be able to afford the gas, tickets, food and parking associated with a game. But this year, the team was visiting on a Saturday and my wife had bought me tickets as a Christmas present.
But while the stars aligned for me to be able to attend the game, the stars were also aligning against the likelihood of Sacramento's roster showing up. The team was coming off a back-to-back, having been run out of the gym by the Thunder on Friday night. The Kings arrived in Denver around 3am local time on Saturday. And although it's an old trope, the difference in altitude is a very real factor. The team was listless from the get go, and while I don't actually blame them, it was unfortunate.
The silver lining is that the Nuggets put on a helluva show. While it's difficult to enjoy watching your own team get blown out, the Nuggets roster was playing some fun basketball. Kenneth Faried is easily one of my favorite non-Kings players in the league. And since Kings fans are well-versed at pining over the potential of extremely raw or underused guys, it was fun watching a late-game line-up featuring Timofy Mozgov, Anthony Randolph, Jordan Hamilton, and Evan Fournier.
But mostly, I took solace in knowing that at least I was getting to watch the Kings. I hope to be able to attend the game when the Kings visit in March, much for the same reasons I was able to attend this game. It will be on a Saturday, and there's the pressing matter of not knowing if I'll ever get another chance to see the Kings in person. Throughout the game, despite the shoddy performance, I took a quiet pleasure in getting to see the Kings. To be clear, the relocation saga is not over. I do not believe it's over, and I'm not giving up. But you have to savor the moment just in case.
Yes, the Kings looked terrible. Yes, they lost horribly. Yes, Keith Smart inexplicably sat DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans the entire second quarter. Yes, it took what felt like forever before Jimmer Fredette saw minutes, even in a blowout. Yes, Smart still seems to believe that Travis Outlaw will fix issues when there's a blowout. Yes, I won some free tacos because the Nuggets scored over 110 points. But in the end, it helped remind me what I'm fighting for. It reminded me why I spend every day getting worked up on our message boards and on Twitter. Living in Colorado, I'll still be the same distance from an NBA game regardless of what happens to the Kings. In that sense, it may not impact me as much as others. But it's still important to me. And that's been difficult to put into words lately. It's been tough to explain why I wouldn't want to continue following this roster if they move to Seattle. Because this is our team. Sacramento's team. And even though I haven't lived in Sacramento in over a decade, it's still my hometown. And because even at their worst, I love throwing on a Kings t-shirt and heading to an arena to watch my favorite team. I love it when my friends can see why I've been blathering over Thomas Robinson lately. I love it when I can bet the next round that my friends can't name every player on the Kings roster. Perhaps it's a macabre enjoyment, but it's how I enjoy the current iteration of this franchise.
So for now we'll keep fighting. The on-court performance is bound to be affected by the fluidity of their future, but we'll continue to support this team no matter how frustrating they become. I'll go see the team in Denver when they come back in March. And hopefully for many years beyond that.