It's a West Coast game! 10pm start! In scenic Sacramento!
I kid, I kid. Sacramento gets lots of flak for being a cowtown in out in the middle of nowhere, but just as I would count proximity to Raleigh and the college towns thereabouts as a plus for Charlotte, I count Sacramento's proximity to various locales as a plus. For instance:
-- University of California Davis has a bunch of sculptures by Robert Arneson scattered throughout the campus that are, well, egg heads.
-- My favorite musical artist of all time is Ryan Adams, but favorite artist 1B hails from Sacramento: Cake.
-- The greatest karaoke night of my life was spent at a bar in Folsom, CA, called The Streets of London. A friend and I spent the day snowboarding in Tahoe, then we drove down from the mountains to her family's house in the evening, warmed up, and headed to the bar with her sister and parents. The bar was full of twenty-somethings, but my friend's mom stepped to the mic, wearing a pink top and black mom-pants, and as the opening licks of "Hell's Bells" began, she screamed over the PA: "This is for Raider Nation! There's always a tomorrow!" and proceeded to blow the roof off the mother with a wild rendition of the AC/DC song. As she held the final note, five frat boys did the We're Not Worthy bow at the front of the stage.
-- At their basketball zenith, the Kings put on a hell of a show, supplemented by their cowbell-ringing fans. For a long time, Mitch Richmond was The Man, but the real basketball renaissance in Sacramento came with the Webber-Divac-Bibby Era.
One exceptional big, one big who played virtually every game for six straight years, an exceptional point, and a cast of wings that, in retrospect, should have been the envy of the league. Just look at the 2002-03 roster. You've got Peja Stojakovic, Hedo Turkoglu, defensive ace Doug Christie, Bobby Jackson as your combo guard, Jim Jackson on the way down, and, of course, an unappreciated Gerald Wallace.
Nowadays, the Kings present an entirely different problem. They're not good. At all. Kevin Martin can stroke it, but beyond that, we're talking about a series of guys like Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes, who are still figuring out their identities, Andres Nocioni, a guy who we already know sucks and probably should be riding pine somewhere, a decaying Bobby Jackson, an injured Drew Gooden, and Beno Udrih, who the team signed to a multiyear deal this offseason and have regretted it immensely. And all that's before we get to Rashad McCants, who's totally insane in a way I'm not sure is bad, but that certainly isn't good for his teams like Rasheed Wallace's insanity seems to be.
The trick for the Bobcats will be to play hard and put them away as quickly as possible so the starters don't have to play big minutes for a second night in a row. Let the Kings stick around, and suddenly we're talking about playing starters into the fourth quarter against a young team with bigs who can run and jump and further tire out our guys.
The good news is that Sacramento's ORtg is near the bottom of the league--a little better than the Bobcats', but still nothing to write home about--and their DRtg is abysmal, the worst in the NBA by a full point and a half behind the Wizards. In other words, our struggling offense gets a break, but their struggling offense doesn't.