In a matchup of teams stockpiling ping-pong balls for the NBA Draft Lottery in May, the Sacramento Kings got 20 points from rookie Justin Jackson on Thursday night in a 105-90 home win over the Atlanta Hawks.
The game was played in front of a tiny crowd at Golden 1 Center, with admissions shut down just before tipoff by the Sacramento Police Department when late-arriving fans were met by a human chain of protesters barring entrances.
The protests were in response to the release of a video showing police fatally shooting unarmed Stephon Clark on Sunday night. Protesters took over downtown and also blocked roads.
The Sacramento Kings released a statement saying, “Due to law enforcement being unable to ensure ticketed fans could safely enter the arena, the arena remains closed and we ask fans outside to travel home.”
The Kings allowed all fans in attendance to move into the lower bowl and told fans who were kept from entering the building that they would offer refunds. They also gave the fans who made it into the arena free non-alcoholic drinks and snacks.
Those who got to watch saw Sacramento pull away late in the third quarter, aided by three double-figure scorers off the bench. Frank Mason and Buddy Hield each tallied 16, while Kosta Koufos hit for 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Bogdan Bogdanovic chipped in 11 points.
Isaiah Taylor paced Atlanta with 18 points, while Damion Lee and Dewayne Dedmon each scored 13. Dedmon also hauled in 10 boards for a double-double. In a reserve role, Tyler Dorsey netted 11 points.
The Hawks fielded a lineup that didn’t include three starters, including point guard Dennis Schroder, who on Tuesday night became their first player in nine years to score 40 points in a game.
Opening tip was delayed a few minutes and there was no national anthem or starting lineup introductions. The Hawks appeared to adapt better to the unusual circumstances, taking a 13-5 lead before settling for a 28-25 advantage after the first quarter.
The Kings clamped down on the shorthanded visitors in the second quarter, allowing just 16 points and earning a 49-44 lead at the half.
Sacramento broke the game open late in the third quarter with a 16-4 spurt that helped it grab an 80-71 cushion going to the fourth period.
—Field Level Media