Tonight was the first of about 15 home games that I will be able to attend this year. In an earlier thread someone quasi accused season ticket holders of being elitists but I think under the circumstances I am more victim than elitist. Nevertheless, I thought I would share some of the sights, sounds and smells of ARCO Arena with you, so without further delay, I give you the home opener.
Pre-Game Lots of people disguised as empty seats, primarily behind the baskets downstairs and the luxury boxes upstairs. Upstairs looks much more filled than downstairs. Reminds me of the old days when we used to joke that the upstairs seats were better because they were further away from the action. "Bleed It Out" by Linkin Park is the lineup intro music for The Kings. I don't know if that is prophetic or ironic, but I'm sure it means something. Smoke machines are filling the arena with a gray haze right now. That might make this easier to watch. Kevin Martin gets a great ovation as the last Kings starter introduced.
1st Quarter Ready to get it started on the new floor. Early on SpeedRacer steals the ball and has an open path to the basket but opts to dish it ahead slightly to Salmons. Would Bibby have done this? Just asking. Mikki Moore's hands make a strange clanging sound whenever the ball hits them. Big Mike (the wandering rah rah guy) appears to have become REALLY Big Mike over the summer. Here's a riddle - what should a point guard do when K9(woof!) seals off his man in the low post - pass it to him or ignore him? Douby enters, gets caught out of position on defense, Douby comes right back out, Greene comes in, Theus makes his point to Douby, Douby comes right back in. A Greene steal leads to a Douby 3 and the first ARCO roar of the night.
2nd Quarter Dusty Baker and his son are here! 5 minutes left in the half and the first boos of the night are heard. This is a bad, bad team. Kev really needs some help. I guess we're all just living in Wally's World.
Halftime Katie Christensen (sorry if I butchered the spelling) looks even better in person. Wow. The halftime mood in the arena is surly. Lots of talk about next year's draft. This suddenly feels like an average NBA arena. The guy that sits a couple of seats down from me predicts a 104-98 Kings victory, but he is well into his 2nd tall beer.
3rd Quarter The PA announcer wants to know if we're ready for the 2nd half. Shouldn't he be asking the team that? Wait a minute, we're playing with energy. Even Brad Miller is getting into it. And best of all - no Sign Man! Five and a half left in the 3rd and we've got a ballgame. Wally seals off Douby in the low post but Moore does an incredible job of help defense and the Sonics can't get the ball inside. Kevin follows up that stand with a mini Jordan lay in. Moore is the 1st guy to help a fallen teammate up every time. With his hands this makes me a little nervous but what the hell. Hey, we won a quarter and cut the deficit in half!
4th Quarter The Kings dance team comes out, supposedly in costumes that we the fans voted on. My write in ballot suggesting a costume of my two hands and tongue must have been ignored - freakin' Maloof's! K9(woof!) opens the quarter with either a nice pass or a very flat shot. Whatever it was, it's two points for us. The guy shooting the halfcourt shot for the pickup misses everything and is booed lustily by the crowd. Kevin Durant is reallllllllly long. Boy is he going to be good. Kevin Martin looks gassed. John Salmons looks like he wants this game more than anyone on either team right now. 29.2 seconds left and Cisco hits a huge 3! OK, now it's loud. Credit to Garcia. He has sucked on the offensive end all night but still had the nads to pull the trigger on that one. Where was he in 2002, game 7? Not that I'm still bitter or anything. 10 seconds left now and it's louder. Kings win! 104-98...get that man another beer! (I swear to God that really happened.)
Post Game My euphoria is slightly dampened when I realize that there is no burger coupon on the back of my ticket stub. Oh well, traffic should still be reduced by about 15-20% for the drive home.
My next report will be this Friday, as I have tickets to see LeBron (OK, now I am being an elitist). End transmission.