Kings notes: Snowstorm was closer than Smart imagined

Published: Sunday, Mar. 24, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4C
Last Modified: Sunday, Mar. 24, 2013 - 9:13 am

DENVER – No, it wasn't a mirage, but Keith Smart couldn't believe his eyes at first, either.

While channel surfing in his downtown Denver hotel room Friday, the Kings' coach happened upon ESPN's broadcast of the U.S.-Costa Rica World Cup soccer qualifying match being played in a ferocious snowstorm a few miles away in Commerce City.

The Americans won 1-0, but only after play was temporarily suspended in the 55th minute because of the whiteout conditions.

"I'm just going through the channels trying to find something," Smart said before Saturday's game against the Nuggets, "and then all of a sudden, I find this game. 'Oh my goodness! Where are they? They got to be in Switzerland or someplace!' Come to find out they're in the same hotel we're in."

Smart was in for another shock when he was eating dinner Saturday and Team USA members sauntered into the restaurant.

"I said, 'Are you with the soccer team?' " Smart said. "That was you guys in that blizzard (Friday) night playing?' That was a lot of history right there. That was one for the ages."

In the teeth – At 6-foot-11 and 240 pounds, Kings backup center Cole Aldrich is pretty hard to miss. But when he stands in the locker room chatting with teammates and reporters, with a gaping hole where one of his front teeth belongs, he is quite the sight.

Aldrich said the tooth was knocked out four years ago and he just hasn't bothered to get a permanent bridge.

Unprompted, he reached into his pocket, pulled out a temporary appliance and popped it into his mouth.

"I'm used to it by now," he said, smiling.

Et cetera – Not surprisingly, members of the Kings' traveling party closely monitored Saturday's late-breaking arena developments via social media. Nuggets coach George Karl, the former Seattle SuperSonics coach who nonetheless has advocated strongly for keeping the Kings in Northern California, also asked for an update on the situation.

• Tyreke Evans is one of several Kings players whose college teams haven't fared well in the NCAA Tournament. Asked about Memphis' loss earlier in the day, Evans smiled and shook his head. "Terrible," he said. "I should have stayed in school. I would have been a senior." A few minutes later, he laughed. "I was just kidding. I would have been in the league by now anyway."

• Andre Miller, who turned 37 last week, started in place of Ty Lawson (sore heel) in Denver's backcourt.

Call The Bee's Ailene Voisin (916) 321-1208 and follow her on Twitter @ailene_voisin.

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