SACRAMENTO -- The fans came to Sleep Train Arena to show their support for the Sacramento Kings, and the team responded with a 120-109 victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.
An enthusiastic crowd of 16,193 cheered on the Kings in an attempt to show the NBA the team has strong backing. The Maloof ownership has announced its plans to sell the Kings to an ownership group that plans to move the team to Seattle.
Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson is attempting to put forth a strong fourth-quarter run with a different ownership group that would make a competitive offer and also agree to build a new downtown arena.
Johnson has yet to announce the parties involved, but a grass-roots campaign running under the names of "Here We Stay" and "Here We Buy" have been established by fan groups.
The groups showed up in force and during nearly every break in action Saturday, clapped rhythmically and chanted "Sacramento" and "Let Us Match."
Sacramento led much of the contest and flirted with breaking the game open midway through the second quarter, but Utah fought back to erase a 13-point deficit. The Jazz took a 50-49 lead before the Kings used a 13-4 run to end the half with a 62-54 lead.
The Kings finally took control in the third quarter. Utah big men Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap got into foul trouble and took themselves out of the game.
Sacramento received double-figure scoring from all five starters and one reserve. Isaiah Thomas had a game-high 25 points, backup guard Marcus Thornton added 24, and Jason Thompson scored 21.
Backup guard Alex Burks led the Jazz with 24 points. Jefferson scored 16 points but grabbed just three rebounds, well off his season average of 9.6 boards.
The Kings (18-34) ended a four-game losing streak while winning for just the second time in 10 games. The Jazz (28-24) lost their second game in a row.
NOTES: Saturday night's game started a home back-to-back for the Kings. It's the only time this season they'll play at Sleep Train Arena on consecutive days. They played one back-to-back home set last season, April 2 vs. Minnesota and April 3 vs. Phoenix. ... Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas was selected to participate in the 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston. ... The Jazz entered the contest having won seven of the past 11 meetings between the two teams. ... Utah coach Tyrone Corbin played with the Kings during the 1995-96 season before being traded to the Miami Heat. ... View from the outside: Corbin talked about Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, who had been ejected from two of the three previous games between the teams. "He's an emotional player who sometimes overreacts or is too demonstrative for the referees," Corbin said. "He's a young guy, and he'll learn how to use the emotions. But most of the best players in the league are emotional, passionate players."