Opening Tip or Game 1: Sacramento Kings vs Los Angeles Lakers

Tonight will be the “Black Out”. Perhaps you’ve seen it noticed on Twitter. (Or perhaps not.) The question is: Will the Kings win?

Last night the Lakers lost to the Bulls on a Derrick Rose half hook/running jump shot (it was a hybrid of the two really) and when Kobe Bryant had his end of the game shot blocked, the Bulls won. That’s the last 10 seconds of the game. The Lakers played well for 43 minutes, and then imploded during the last 5 minutes of the game. Go figure. Was it because of no Andrew Bynum? Maybe a little bit, but not a whole lot. The Lakers played a better game than many anticipated they could for 43 minutes, and then simply dropped the ball in the last 5 minutes. Sound familiar?

Tonight isn’t about beating the Lakers although many will tell you that is so. It’s about the Kings winning their first game at home, and on the season. It’s about finding some measure of continuity and progress that a truncated compressed timetable training camp never could. It’s about the Kings starting group finding rhythm (Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, John Salmons, Chuck Hayes and DeMarcus Cousins) to kick off the season right. It’s about figuring out how Jason Thompson, JJ Hickson, Travis Outlaw, Jimmer Fredette and maybe Francisco Garcia work together as a bench unit. It’s the first game of a 66 game journey in 120 days. (Or maybe it’s 119. Not sure. The phrase sure is cute though. It’s gonna remain.) The Kings starting their end of a successful journey is what matters. The Lakers? Not so much. (To be honest the only team that the Kings beating would give me juice is beating Miami in Miami. Why? Because the Kings have won in Miami 3 times in their history. Plus there is the added bonus of beating the Heatles in their own ridiculous home setting. The last time the Kings won in Miami was in Nov 2001. The other 2 wins were in 1994 and 1990. House. Of. Horrors. Miami.)

Beating the Lakers isn’t anymore important in the standings than beating the Warriors or the Cavaliers or the Wizards. That’s the bottom line. Like every other team they are 1 of 82 (or 1 of 66) and you beat one team one game at the time. We could talk about what each team did a year ago or anything else.

Like I said, that doesn’t matter really. What matters? The Kings moving the ball on offense and playing intelligently. The Kings playing with intelligent and disruptive defensive capability. The likelihood of that happening for 48 minutes? Very unlikely. Likely that the Lakers could struggle with the matchup given the type of players the Kings have at every position? Possible.

Tonight is the first night in what hopefully could be a playoff run.

So in case reading is your thing, a discussion about why Kobe Bryant is no longer Kobe Bryant at Silver Screen and Roll, and the state of Lakers at Forum Blue & Gold. Both are very well worth your time.

Go Kings!

UPDATE: Thanks to the Kings Twitter for the image (you’ll have to click on the link sorry).