Sacramento, CA - Another season comes to a close and once again, the uncertainty on the Kings return is more important than how the season wrap-up. The bids are high on deciding if the team moves to Seattle or will remain in Sacramento.
"A very disappointing season," said Isaiah Thomas. "It's disappointing because we know we're a talented team and can compete with top teams in the NBA. Some how we have to put it together and hopefully we can do that next season. The fans have been the best. Through wins, loses and blowouts, they've been there, can't thank the fans enough."
Obviously, not the ending they envisioned. The playoff bound Los Angeles Clippers beat the Kings 112-108 in front of a sellout crowd chanting "we will stay" throughout the game and long after the game clock was turned off. As we close the books on the 2012-2013 NBA season, Sacramento definitely had it's fair share of ups and downs.
A disgruntled center who could be the future of the franchise earned his 16th technical foul minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Demarcus Cousins monster game proves his talent is definitely overshadowed by his emotions.
Grabbing a new career-high 24 rebounds and 36-point game was one of his best games this season. Despite the loss, the Kings played a competitive game through four quarters. Sacramento rallied late in the fourth but Jamal Crawford hit back-to-back three's to secure the Clippers win.
"I've got to keep working, I can admit, some of it's me," Cousins said. "It's the same thing every year and you get tired of losing records and I'm sure our fans get tired too. But I play for them and hope the decisions made this offseason can bring better opportunities for us moving forward."
The atmosphere in the arena was surreal. It felt like a game in Arco Arena when Chris Webber was the marquee player in a showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers. Fast-forward to the present, the sellout crowd at Sleep Train Arena is in limbo on if the team will return. NBA Commissioner David Stern said a decision on the move of the team is unlikely until at least May.
NBA owners are still deciding on whether to sale the team to Seattle. If the Kings do remain in Sacramento, a new arena will be built downtown. Los Angeles focus was much different as they played all of their starters in a must win for home-court advantage.
"Getting the home-court advantage was very important to us," said Crawford. "That's what you're playing for all season, to get home court in the playoffs. We have unbelievable fans and it will be great to play that first game at home."
While the Clippers prepare for the playoffs, the Kings have time to think about the changes they want for a better season next year. But before that happens, the players and coaches returned to the floor after the game to thank the 3,000 plus fans remaining in the arena.
"I think the advantage has to go to the home team," said Mayor Kevin Johnson. "We're an incumbent. We're going to build a brand new building downtown, we have a qualified ownership group and I think if we get another chance to present, that's a good sign for the community."