NBA Sacramento Kings

2013-14 NBA Schedule Release: Top 5 Sacramento Kings Games To Watch

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2013 NBA Schedule Release, 5 Sacramento Kings Games To Watch

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA schedule release features a home opener for the Sacramento Kings. Marking the first time in 10 seasons the Kings have kicked the season off in Sacramento. That home opener is a "blackout" affair on Oct.30 against the Denver Nuggets.

It’s expected that fans in attendance will receive black t-shirts like last season’s blackout. Also, the Kings will feature their black alternate jerseys. The atmosphere should be electric as the best fans in the NBA will likely sell out Sleep Train Arena.

Those fans were tested emotionally this year as a group from Seattle sought out to buy and relocate the team. Fans in Sacramento felt for Seattle, who had their own team plucked out from under them and relocated where they became the Oklahoma City Thunder. Backed by former Suns great and Mayor Kevin Johnson, a Sacramento native, Sacramentans won over NBA owners who voted against relocation.

The move would have been a death blow to the already struggling region. The Kings managed to sell out games for consecutive seasons even though the product on the court never really warranted it. Fans in and around Sacramento launched a grassroots effort to keep the Kings in Sacramento. These fans deserve their Kings and they deserve this night. Opening night will be a joyous, raucous affair.

Sacramento fell to the Chicago Bulls 93-87 in last season’s opener. The schedule is favorable to the Kings as it features a 10-game home-stand. Let’s take a look at the top five games to watch.

Karim Akbar is a Sacramento Kings writer for Follow him on Twitter @Kuhreem , “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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Opening Night

Kelley L Cox- USA Today Sports

This game is significant for many reasons. The fans get to celebrate the fact their beloved Kings are staying in town, for good. There are plans to move forward with a new Downtown arena built by 2016-17. In the meantime, the Kings will play at least two seasons at Sleep Train Arena.

It's also a new start for coach Micheal Malone and his staff, as well as rookies Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum, who look to produce immediately off the bench for Sacramento. Coach Malone wants his team to focus on defense and work to move the ball around more on offense. No better night than Opening Night to get everybody on the same page.

Pete D'Alessandro also has ties to this game as he faces off against his previous employer where he served as General Manager. D'Alessandro, now with the Kings, will face a tough Denver Nuggets team he helped build.

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Kings vs. Lakers

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

There are many Los Angeles Lakers fans and even Kings fans that consider this rivalry dormant. As a result, Lakers fans usually have no problem getting tickets at Sleep Train, a feat that wouldn't have been possible a decade ago when the Arena was rocking with cowbells. The Kings and Lakers meet for the first of four games at Staples Center Nov. 24 and square off in Sacramento on Dec. 6.

Kobe may not be back yet, and additionally, Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace are gone. With L.A. not quite at its dominant level, maybe Lakers fans stay home that night. Either way, I have a feeling tickets will be hard to come by for Lakers fans that night.

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Kings vs. Warriors

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings and Golden State Warriors meet in Sacramento Dec. 1. It will be a bittersweet affair for Kings owner Vivek Ranadive as he will be reunited with his former employer. Ranadive was a minority owner with the Warriors, but sold his shares to buy the Kings.

Additionally, nine of the last 12 meetings between the Northern California rivals have been decided by fewer than five points or less while three headed into overtime, the Kings won last year’s season series (3-1) for the first time since 2002-03.

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Kings vs. Clippers

Kelley L Cox- USA Today Sports

Beat L.A. has now been extended to both its teams. It's a new dimension to this NorCal vs. SoCal battle as the Los Angeles Clippers come to Sleep Train Arena Nov. 1. Last season's series got ugly as players got into it, techincals and ejections marred what has become a highly competitive rivalry between two young teams. Chris Paul and DeMarcus Cousins even reached new levels in the flop war in last season's matchup.

Cousins has dominated this matchup as of late. In fact, two of Cousins' four 20-plus rebound games have come against the divisional rival Clippers.

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Kings vs. Pelicans

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings and New Orleans Pelicans meet Dec. 23 in a nationally-televised game at Sleep Train Arena. The game will be the first for Greivis Vazquez who came over from the Pelicans in the Tyreke Evans deal.

The Kings traded Tyreke Evans this offseason and many felt it was a bad move. Evans impressed in his first year earning Rookie Of The Year honors, but was hampered by injuries in his sophomore season. Although he looked like the Tyreke of old, the Kings felt it was time to part ways with the star instead of offering a max contract.

I doubt Evans gets booed, but if Evans torches his former team, all bets are off.