Kings Lose on the Court, but Kings Fans Send Another Powerful Message of Support to NBA

USA TODAY Sports

This may have been the last Kings game in Sacramento, but nobody can say that this team, this fan base or this city didn't give it their all.


Final - 4.17.2013 1 2 3 4 Total
Los Angeles Clippers 27 27 24 34 112
Sacramento Kings 26 20 24 38 108

Complete Coverage >


(For the opponent's point of view, visit Clips Nation)

Back in 2011, when the rumors of relocation to Anaheim were rampant and we didn't know what was going to happen, I sat at home and watched the Kings play the Lakers in what might have been the last Kings game ever. L.A. got out to an early, dominant lead and held it much of the way. In a season of uncertainty, it was depressing. But the Kings came back from 20 points and made it a ball game, even taking the lead. Alas, it was Kobe Bryant who again broke our hearts, nailing a big three to put away the Kings for good. It was a sucker punch to the gut, and all the feelings that had been pent up inside me came to the forefront. The dam broke once Grant and Jerry conducted their now famous "final" sendoff and Tesla's "Love Song" began playing. I cried, more than I had cried in years.

We all know how that story played out. The Kings never moved to Anaheim a new arena plan began to take shape and the future once again looked bright.

Now we're back to the same situation, only this time in seemingly more dire straits. Yet tonight, I wasn't sad or frustrated or emotional.

Tonight I am proud.

I am proud of the effort given by a team that had nothing to play for. The Clippers came in with serious playoff implications on the line, needing a win to clinch home-court advantage in the playoffs. The Clippers came in with more talent, more health, and more purpose. There was literally nothing at stake for Sacramento besides pride and yet they gave it their all, leaving nothing on the court. DeMarcus Cousins saved his best for last, putting up 36 points and 22 rebounds in what may just have been his best game as an NBA player. Isaiah Thomas went toe-to-toe with the NBA's best Point Guard without blinking. Marcus Thornton made it rain from downtown. Travis Outlaw(!) even came up big with a season-high 17 points and 4 assists. It took some absolutely incredible shots by Jamal Crawford to push the Clippers over the top and even then it almost was enough.

I am proud of this fanbase for showing up through thick and thin. A capacity crowd showed up to watch a 28 win team play and they cheered and yelled and poured their hearts out from hours before tip to hours after. If the NBA isn't clear yet on just how much we care for this team, they need to watch tonight's game. There is absolutely no way a case can be made that another city deserves or wants this team more than us. None.

I am proud of the way this city has come together to stand by this team. Mayor Kevin Johnson, other city councilman, state Senators, all have gone above and beyond in an effort to keep this team here. Corporations have stepped up and pledged their support many times over.

Like 2011, we don't know what happen. But it didn't, DOESN'T, feel like the end. Of all the signs I saw at the game, perhaps my favorite was one held up by a young lady in the lower bowl that simply said "NOT SAYING GOODBYE". No, we're not. Perhaps more appropriate is the German expression for farewell, Auf Wiedersehen: Until we see each other again.

***

I'd like to take a moment and thank all of you for reading my recaps this season, and for making my posts better with your commentary. I am grateful to be a part of this community, and humbled that I have the privilege to write for you. I'd also like to thank my brilliant and admirable co-workers Tom Ziller, Greg Wissinger and Section214 for picking up the slack on those nights where I was too tired or unable to get a recap.

Until next season,

- Akis

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