Before the Wizards play the Kings, Coach Randy Wittman was asked how he felt about being in Sacramento for the final time.
“Is it?” Wittman asked back.
In what has become an annual flirtation, the Kings once again appear to be on the move, with Seattle investor Chris Hansen attempting to purchase the struggling franchise and move it to the Pacific Northwest. Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson has been fighting to keep the team in town but uncertainty reigns.
“I played here. I spent a little time here as a player,” said Wittman, who spent the 1988-89 season with the Kings. “You hate to see that happen to any community, any city, when things like this are above and out of control of the public. You hope that things can always work out and things can stay in the city that they belong in.”
Wittman had fond memories of one season in Sacramento. “It was great,” he said. “I opened the arena here. My first year here was when the arena opened. They are enthusiastic about their team. Always has been. That’s what you remember about them.”
The Wizards (7-28) have lost their past two games in Sacramento, but they are feeling good as they arrive on a three-game winning streak. Wittman said the difference between the spirits of his players before and after the streak is “night and day,” especially with the debut of John Wall combined with the returns of Trevor Ariza and A.J. Price.
“Getting guys back healthy has been a big key for us,” Wittman said. “Perseverance and continuing to play through tough times. These guys have really done that all year, and it’s starting to show now. From losing close games, to learning how to finish close games. That’s the biggest difference.”
Trevor Booker will return after missing the previous game with a sprained left ankle, but Jordan Crawford (left ankle) and Cartier Martin (left knee) remain out.
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Tipoff: 10 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: 106.7 (WJFK FM)