Leading Off

For Kings, will timing on tickets be bad, too?

Reading time, two minutes ...

▪ Most Kings fans will agree the worst thing about the firing of coach Michael Malone was the timing.

It came just 24 games into his second season, he was a very respectable 11-13 (despite center DeMarcus Cousins missing nine games with viral meningitis), and it was just 10 days before Christmas.

Even though the Kings looked impressive in Wednesday’s suprising rout of the Oklahoma City Thunder, what kind of mood will season-ticket holders be in when renewal notices start showing up in their e-mail, with an expected price increase?

It’s much easier to accept a hike when your team is playing well and the talk of the NBA, as the Kings were at the beginning of the season.

Perhaps Wednesday’s performance will continue before fans need to make a decision.

▪ The NFL is a league of star quarterbacks, but that doesn’t mean the best quarterback wins the biggest game.

Sure, it makes sense that Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are six-point favorites against Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys. But the last three Super Bowls have been won by the team with arguably the inferior quarterback.

In Super Bowl XLVI, Eli Manning led the New York Giants over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, and even though Manning has won more Super Bowls than his more famous brother, who would take him over Brady?

Two years ago, Joe Flacco led the Baltimore Ravens past young hotshot Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers (and earned a whopping new contract).

And last year, Russell Wilson completed his meteoric rise to stardom with the Seattle Seahawks’ improbable 43-8 rout of the favored Broncos and record-setting quarterback Peyton Manning.

So don’t be surprised if we see Flacco and the Ravens against the Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton in Super Bowl XLIX.

▪ Raley Field drew a huge crowd Wednesday for the first stop in the Giants’ World Series trophies tour, with fans still basking in the team’s three titles in five seasons. It should be the final look back at the improbable 2014 season, with pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to spring training in six weeks.

The Giants have plenty of obstacles that could keep them from breaking their odd-number year drop-off. Can center fielder Angel Pagan play a full season? Who will bat cleanup? Who will be the every day left fielder? How will Matt Cain bounce back? And what’s up with Tim Lincecum?

– Tom Couzens

tcouzens@sacbee.com


What to watch

NBA, Kings vs Nuggets,

7 p.m., CSNCA: After beating the Thunder in one of their most impressive victories of the season, the Kings look for another strong defensive effort against Denver.


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