THE FACTS: The game was secondary in Sacramento as the Kings played in front of a sell-out home crowd for perhaps the last time ever. With the NBA Finance and Relocation committee meeting in New York earlier in the day to decide whether to endorse a move to Seattle or turn down prospective owner Chris Hansen and keep the team in the capital of California, loyal Kings fans showed up in force to cheer on their team.
On the court, the Kings gave a star-studded Los Angeles Clippers team all they could handle. Sacramento rode an exuberant crowd for most of the game, but came up short late, losing 112-108.
Chris Paul led the way for the Clippers, scoring 25 points and dishing out 11 assists. Jamal Crawford continued to shine off the bench, scoring 24 points on 9-for-16 shooting, while Chauncy Billups added 17 points for Los Angeles in the win.
DeMarcus Cousins was a monster, scoring 36 points and grabbing a career-high 24 rebounds in the loss. With Tyreke Evans missing the game with a strained left quad, Marcus Thornton returned to the starting lineup and scored 19 of his 21 points in a wild second half. Isaiah Thomas dropped in 15 points and 10 assists, while Travis Outlaw gave coach Keith Smart a big 17 points off the Kings bench.
QUOTABLE: "I think the advantage has to go to the home team. We're an incumbent. We have fans that are here, filling up Sleep Train Arena. 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."
-- A confident Mayor Kevin Johnson during halftime
THE STAT: A capacity crowd of 17,317 Kings fans filled up Sleep Train Arena for what could be the final game in Sacramento.
TURNING POINT: With just under two minutes remaining in the game, Crawford buried a pair of 3-pointers, giving the Clippers the lead for good.
QUOTABLE II: "We have a great story to tell. It's very compelling. And I think owners know what this market means to the NBA."
-- Mayor Johnson on Sacramento's chances of keeping the Kings
HOT: Cousins came out fast in the first quarter, scoring 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting and grabbing six rebounds. The crowd was incredible early and the Kings big fella fed off the energy.
NOT: Blake Griffin struggled with back spasm all game and was completely ineffective, finishing with just seven points on 3-for-10 shooting. With the playoffs just around the corner, coach Vinny Del Negro used the cautious approach with his star forward.
GOOD MOVE: Smart turned to Travis Outlaw in the first half and the seldom-used veteran responded with 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting in 13 minutes of action. Outlaw finished with 17 points, a new season-high.
BAD MOVE: Del Negro left DeAndre Jordan in the game during the fourth quarter and the Kings fouled him on consecutive possessions. Jordan missed all three free throws and Sacramento was able to make a game out of it.
NOTABLE: Cousins set a new career-high with 24 rebounds and notched his second 30-plus point, 20-plus rebound game of the season.