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On this day in Kings history: Ron Artest helps Sacramento play spoiler against the Rockets

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The Kings ruined the Rockets’ night on this day 12 years ago.

Houston Rockets v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The 2007-08 season marked the start of new era for the Sacramento Kings. Not only did they have a new head coach in Reggie Theus — their third head coach in three years — but they moved on from Mike Bibby, one of the few remaining players from the successful Rick Adelman teams of the early 2000s.

Bibby only appeared in 15 games for the Kings before he was traded in February, but his production from the season prior was enough to net Sacramento the No. 5 pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, Shelden Williams, in addition to Anthony Johnson, Tyronn Lue, Lorenzen Wright and a second-round pick. Obviously none of those players went on to have long and storied careers with the Kings, but the package they accepted was indicative of the direction the organization was headed in.

Fast-forward to April, 1, 2008, when the Kings hosted the Houston Rockets for their fourth and final matchup of the regular season. For the Kings (33-40), it was a meaningless game in a lost season, but for the Rockets, it was a chance to beat a bad team and close the three-game gap between them and the San Antonio Spurs in the Southwest Division.

The Rockets lost, and the Kings made them wait until the very last second to hand them their loss. There were 26 lead changes and the game was tied 22 times, including twice in the final two minutes of the game. Up until the final seconds of the game, the Rockets had a chance to ice the game, but they didn’t, and the Kings won 99-98.

Ron Artest led all Kings with 30 points, but Kevin Martin wasn’t too far behind with 27 points — two of which were game-sealing free throws. Meanwhile. Tracy McGrady scored 32 points for the Rockets.

Was Yao Ming hurt? Sure, but the Kings’ No. 10 overall pick Spencer Hawes was, too, so I guess you can say the field was level.

Again, this might not be anyone’s favorite game in Kings history, but it was fun to watch the Kings play spoiler for a night, especially when they didn’t have much else to play for.

All stats were provided by NBA.com and Basketball Reference unless otherwise noted.