Geoff Petrie and Rick Adelman oversaw the most successful run of basketball in Sacramento history.
Both were back at Sleep Train Arena on Saturday night for the final game in the building when the Kings hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“Rick and I have had such a great partnership over the years, from being teammates in Portland to him being the coach and me being in charge of basketball operations, and we enjoyed a whole lot of wins,” Petrie said. “So it’s always great to be around him and talk to him.”
From 1998 through 2006, the Kings made the playoffs every season under Adelman. He compiled a 395-229 record with Sacramento in the regular season. They have not made the playoffs since Adelman was fired.
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Adelman went on to coach in Houston and Minnesota after his time in Sacramento, but was always well received when he returned.
“One thing about this building is we had really good teams and … it was loud, there’s no building like it,” Adelman said “… When we got it going those people were crazy. It was terrific.”
Adelman led the Kings to the Western Conference finals in 2002, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games. Adelman thought the Kings were the better team, but their missed free throws in Game 7 in Sacramento allowed the Lakers a chance to win.
“I regret not getting to the next level. This place would have been really loud then,” Adelman said.
Visiting and building – Kenny Smith was the Kings’ first-round draft pick in 1987 out of North Carolina before going on to win two championships with the Houston Rockets and now is a part of TNT’s popular NBA studio show.
He was in Sacramento on Saturday for the final game at Sleep Train and to help get the word out about Coors Light Full Court reFRESH program that helps refurbish public basketball courts.
Smith said the environment in Sacramento was always more like college than the pros.
“I would say by the end of the season you knew 200 fans by name, personally knew them,” Smith said. “Two hundred of them you’d see in the community and then see them in the stands and wave … they lived right next door to you and it was fun because of that.”
Even when Smith returned as foe, he said, Sacramento fans were always great.
“You get the 10-second ovation and then after that it’s, ‘Boo!’ ” Smith said. “But you definitely get it every single time; didn’t matter if you came here five times a year, you’re going to get it every single time. That’s pretty special.”
Resting Rondo – Rajon Rondo was the only starter rested Saturday. Coach George Karl said the team would wait to announce who would not play in the final two games.