When the Kings turned the table on Portland with their latest win - going from a 24-point defeat to a 24-point victory in back-to-back games - coach Reggie Theus said it was important on the "psychological warfare" front.
The early edge, in other words, does matter.
And if that's the case, so do these final two exhibition games. First, it's the Clippers tonight, who are a fringe playoff team just like the Kings but are still months from having franchise forward Elton Brand back from injury. Then it's the Lakers in Vegas on Friday, another squad with (Kobe) issues aplenty but the similar hope of being one of the eight teams representing the Western Conference in the playoffs. Expect bigger minutes for the starters, a competitive feel much like the Dallas game in Las Cruces that surprised even the participants, and keep an eye on the fight for the power forward starting spot that could go down to the finish. Kenny Thomas has played very well this preseason, for now halting the edge Mikki Moore appeared to have. On the inside and out, the edge certainly matters.
En route to my flight this morning, I officially decided that the Terminal B sports store should no longer be the unofficial indicator of what's popular in Kings land. There were Mike Bibby jerseys, Ron Artest jerseys and a buried Brad Miller jersey. So I asked about No. 23 - you know, that Kevin kid who's slowly gained the popular vote among Kings fans and just might be in town for a while? I got a blank stare and the authoritative word from the morning shift worker that a purple jersey with that number was never for sale here. Catch up, folks.
- Sam Amick