Arco’s last fill

Set the mouse trap.

Set the mouse trap.

Beleagured Sacramento Kings’ fans sure needed it Monday. And after a wobbly start, the team delivered.

Wearing retro Royals throwback jerseys highlighting their glory days of, um, 50 years ago, the Kings fed off the energy of a rare sell-out crowd. After an awkward first half, with the fans glum and the team flat, half two provided some passionate make-up love.

By the fourth quarter fans were on their feet, yelling “Los Angeles sucks,” “Stay in Sac” and stomping on the old-school wooden floor boards and ringing cow bells. Rattled, the Los Angeles Clippers missed key late free throws and, for once, the Kings played clutch ball in the closing minutes of the game, holding on for 105-98 win.

“The noise was unbelievable,” Kings’ analyst and former player Henry Turner said later, also throwing in “off the hook.”

Even so, the crowd took a while to get revved up, and the first half wasn’t exactly a Royals flush. The Kings were dogged by the same missteps that have hurt them all season: turnovers, sloppy fast breaks, no confidence or toughness in the paint on defense. They also made strange decisions, such as putting a single man on Clippers beast Blake Griffin and, for a while, running what fan referred to as a “one-horse” offense, continually shooting from the left of the key.

But by the third quarter, the crowd had found its voice, the Maloofs stony reserve at midcourt relaxed into a few fist pumps, and the Kings responded with hustle and heart, particularly Marcus Thornton’s 16-point run in the fourth. Except for the signs imploring the Kings to stay in town—one featuring Mickey Mouse ears with a line drawn through them—it could have been the noisy good old days at Arco Arena against another Los Angeles team.

About the only off note, in addition to the $8 beers, was the names on the uniforms: Royals, a name floated as a replacement for the Kings if they move. As in Los Angeles Royals of Anaheim, anyone?

The name provided a not-so-subtle reminder that, instead of a celebration of Arco II’s 23-year run, this game could actually be a sneak preview of future battles between Southern California’s two future rival NBA squads. (Hugh Biggar)

Protesting parenthood planning

On Tuesday, a group called Vigils for Victims of Underage Sex Trafficking held a protest during the noon hour in front of the Federal Building. A trip downtown found four people, each holding multiple signs denouncing the use of federal money to support Planned Parenthood, pacing the busy lunchtime sidewalk.

Rather than specific assistance for victims of sex trafficking, however, the group was advocating legislation to defund Planned Parenthood. The U.S. House recently passed such a bill; Rep. Doris Matsui voted against it.

Albin Rhomberg, spokesman for the group, told SN&R that they didn’t protest regularly at the Federal Building, but were there specifically “because of this issue.”

Planned Parenthood has been accused by pro-life groups of aiding in sex trafficking by providing reproductive and sexual health care to sex workers, and a video “sting” on more than a dozen offices of the nonprofit found one worker, who was later fired, suggesting that underage sex workers could lie about their age to avoid mandatory reporting laws.

The bill that this group supports has little chance of passage in the Democratic-majority Senate. (Kel Munger)