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(Sports Network) – Rumors are swirling that the Sacramento Kings are looking for a new home, possibly Anaheim, and the fans have been making a dignified case for the team to remain in California’s capital.
Kings fans have organized a “Here We Stay” campaign to keep the club in Sacramento, where it has played since the 1985-86 season, and will be out in full force again tonight versus the Portland Trail Blazers at Power Balance Pavilion, formerly known as ARCO Arena.
The fans got behind the Kings in Monday’s 105-99 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Clippers, as Marcus Thornton scored a game-best 29 points and sank six big foul shots down the stretch to give Sacramento its third win in 13 tries.
“Thornton is fitting in pretty well. Marcus was sensational tonight,” Kings head coach Paul Westphal said.
Beno Udrih added 19 points and seven assists, while Omri Casspi posted 15 points and pulled down eight boards for the Kings, who committed 19 turnovers to LA’s 21. Thornton, meanwhile, is averaging 19.3 points in the last three games since joining the Kings in a deal with New Orleans, while Udrih is posting 18.0 ppg in that span.
Sacramento is 8-22 at home and still without reigning Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans due to a case of plantar fascitis in his left foot. The team is 3-9 in Evans’ absence this season and went 2-8 without him a year ago.
Portland will try for its fifth straight win on the road tonight and completed a five-game homestand with Tuesday’s tough 103-87 loss to the Houston Rockets at the Rose Garden.
Nicolas Batum scored a game-best 22 points and LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 14 points, five assists and three rebounds for the Blazers, who went 2-3 on the homestand and lost for the third time in four tries since a six-game winning streak. Newcomer Gerald Wallace also had 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in a game that featured a lack of defense for the hosts.
“Defensively we did not guard anybody,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. “That is why they scored 52 points in the paint.”
The Blazers hope to play some better defense when they put a 13-17 road record to the test Wednesday in Sacramento. They are currently tied with Memphis for seventh in the Western Conference standings — one game behind New Orleans for the sixth spot.
Portland and Sacramento have beaten each other once already this season, with each team prevailing on the road. The Blazers, however, have won nine of 13 meetings with the Kings, losers in four straight as the host in this series.