Yes, there is still plenty of Kings-Lakers buzz.
As many of you said last week when Kobe Bryant said the rivalry was dead, the fans have everything to do with the rivalry equation. But there has to be a context, too, and that's what's missing from Kings-Lakers these days.
As for the Golden State team coming into Arco Arena tonight? The rivalry continues to grow. The Warriors have all but claimed Northern California as their own on the hoops map. Their crowds are bigger. Their team is better. And all of this is painful for the locals because it was only a few years ago when the Warriors weren't within a fullcourt shot of being as relevant as the Kings.
But now they've won 12 of the last 17 meetings, including both faceoffs this season. They broke their playoff-less streak of 12 seasons while the Kings' streak of playoff berths ended at eight and their playoff-less streak is about to become two. This rivalry, unlike the one with the Lakers, is about success and failure at alternating times. And this, obviously, is not the Kings' time.
Yet this is quite an opportunity to play the spoiler. The Warriors are only 1 1/2 games up on Denver for the eighth and final playoff spot, and the Nuggets on their heels as they've won three straight. All that being said, the Kings may be without Ron Artest (right elbow stiffness), John Salmons (sprained ankle) and Spencer Hawes (left mid-foot strain) and would be hard-pressed to keep up with Nellie's crew without them.
* Just in case there's little for Kings fans to cheer about tonight, enjoy this incredibly bizarre YouTube clip of Baron Davis.
Not so menacing now, is he?
* Warriors forward Chris Webber hasn't played in seven games and may not be available for some time because of knee trouble. Sound familiar?
* Another just-in-case: Just in case you Kings fans want to relish a win before crossing your fingers that another is on its way, you need to check out the audio slideshow of the Raptors game. Heck, I wasn't even there and I felt like I was there. I took a short respite and am back on as of Tuesday morning, but those who want to relive every game need to make sure you don't forget about the fantastic slideshows that are produced after every home. Bookmark this page and they'll always be stripped across the top. - Sam Amick