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GAME #4 - vs Minnesota

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I should probably focus on discussing what went wrong in Sacramento's game against Minnesota last Wednesday and how that relates to tonight's match, or perhaps about how Brad Miller's injury will affect the squad over the next four weeks...

But with Sacramento voters set to reject the latest arena tax plan by a stunning margin tomorrow morning, and with an apparently large load of tickets still available for a home opener four hours away in the city with the longest active sellout streak, it's a bit more than trifle to compartmentalize and focus on the hardwood.

Without selling wolf tickets I'll point out that this could be the final home opener in Sacramento Kings history. If I were betting, I'd say there are two more seasons, but Clay Bennet and the city of Seattle have shown us how quickly things change.

I linked this morning to an Ailene Voisin interview with Joe Maloof, where he said he's not staying in a town that doesn't want him.

Now add in the following real possibilities:

  1. The Kings fail to sell out their home opener, breaking their 300+ sellout streak the day before ...
  2. ... the arena tax measure fails to get just 20 percent of the vote.
First and foremost, the Maloofs are businessmen. They're typically smart businessmen (though some could rightfully question some recent decisions). If the nostalgia, the warm fuzzy feeling, the deep bond between this city and the team wears off - and if not selling out a home opener (the Kings sent out a desparate e-mail hours ago about available tickets, and you can still purchase blocks of tickets in almost every price range via Ticketmaster) and refusing to fund the arena by an embarassing margin don't constitute a dissipation of the warm fuzzies, I don't know what does - why would the Maloofs waste time trying again? They've failed pretty dramatically in every effort so far. And yes, they only need one effort to succeed to make everyone happy. But how many times will the dog come back to get its nose smacked by the newspaper?

I'm not defending the Maloofs - in the last two-plus years of this arena struggle they have been at best incredibly inept and at worst devilishly deceitful. They, along with a host of horrible policymakers and some not-insignificant situational details (lack of corporate sponsors, lack of the perfect site, general local cynicism), have gotten us into this mess.

Irregardless of blame at this point, try to enjoy the apparent end of the era. I have a feeling the crowd in the building tonight will be particularly boisterous (God bless you), and I think the Kings can reverse fortunes and take care of the not-quite-good Timberwolves, who got away with one Wednesday.

And, if you really can't imagine a November evening without the Kings, look into real estate in southern Nevada.

"Read More" is the place for projected starters, the betting line, and more game-thread goodness...

STARTERS:


SACRAMENTO
PG - Mike Bibby is not your yes man, Consistency.
SG - "I'm Kevin Martin, bitch!" said Kevin Martin.
SF - Ron Artest counts among his influences Reggie Miller, Eddie House, and Fred Hoiberg.
PF - "Good looking out with the injury there, Brad - I was worrying about my starting spot," said Kenny Thomas.
C  - Shareef Abdur-Rahim is an unlikely center in today's NBA.

MINNESOTA
PG - Mike James is 30 years old, though no one realizes it.
SG - Ricky Davis thinks Ricky Davis is a fine player, if you know what Ricky Davis is saying.
SF - Trenton Hassell is the  winner of the silliest facial hair for a player not named Scot Pollard.
PF - Kevin Garnett should touch the ball more than, say, 15 times a game.
C  - Mark Blount will not likely get to guard Quincy Douby tonight, which is a true shame.

THE LINE:
The Kings are 4.5-point favorites. The o/u is 187. The teams scored 175. I like the under and the Kings. (I'm also going to try to keep track of my predictions throughout the season.)

INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT NOTE:
Mike Bibby pretty much needs to score for the Kings to win as long as Ron Artest is building houses for Habitat for Humanity around the three-point circle.

SLIGHTLY LESS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT NOTE:
Vitaly Potapenko should be active for this game. Just saying...

PRE-GAME HAIKU:

It's here at ARCO
where the Kings play at their best.
How long will that last?

PARTING SHOT:
Home openers are always fun affairs (see: the last three Kings games). Let's hope our favorite team can inject a bit of whimsy into the town tonight.

7p on Comcast. Let's go Kings.