WATCH: Remembering the 2011 Sacramento Kings season finale

Jason Thompson at the 2011 season finale.  (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

For one last time this season, the Sacramento Kings will take the court.  Tonight, when the Kings host the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2012-13 regular season finale, emotions will ride high.  Will it or won’t it be the last game ever in Kings’ franchise history?

But fans can take solace in this: you’ve been here before.

When the Kings hosted the Los Angeles Lakers two years ago, a sellout crowd packed Sleep Train Arena to say goodbye.  A move to Anaheim was all but a done deal in many experts’ minds as fans stepped inside that old barn in Natomas.  With uncertainty filling the air, Kings fans cheered that game like it was surely their last.

“The emotion of the night of the final game here was as vibrant a memory of the great successes at any time during the previous 25 and three quarter seasons,” said Gary Gerould, the venerable play-by-play voice of the Kings in the documentary “Small Market, Big Heart”.

“It was magical,” he added with an effervescent and reflective smile.

In the fourth quarter, the Kings stormed back from an 18-point deficit to force overtime.  Unfortunately, the Lakers were able to withstand the Kings’ valiant comeback to win 116-108.

But the outcome on the court didn’t matter that night.  What happened after the final buzzer was a bigger story.

“When you looked into their eyes, it looked like a piece of their hearts came out,” Kings guard Marcus Thornton told me of the fans he greeted following that final game of the 2011 season for a piece published in SLAM Magazine .

Compiled below is a slideshow of several standout moments from that game.  Some of them, you may have seen, while others maybe new. They serve as a reminder, as well as a preview of what the atmosphere may be like inside Sleep Train Arena on this last night of the regular season.

[View the story “Scenes from the 2010-11 Sacramento Kings season finale” on Storify]

Scenes from the 2010-11 Sacramento Kings season finale

The Sacramento Kings lost 116-108 in overtime to the Los Angeles Lakers. But with relocation to Anaheim seemingly imminent, the game wasn’t the story that night.

Storified by Cowbell Kingdom· Wed, Apr 17 2013 02:23:41

Former King Donté Greene addresses the crowd before tip and the Kings are introduced for what was thought to be the last time ever in Sacramento.
Donte Greene & Opening Ceremonies Final Kings game of 2010-11 NBA Seasonkingsflix
The end of regulation as filmed by a fan seated behind the Kings’ bench.
Sacramento Kings v L.A. Lakers April 13, 2011333rel
Jason Thompson joins Grant Napear and Jerry Reynolds on the postgame telecast.
JT Postgame interview 4/13/11kingsflix
Former Kings coach Paul Westphal conducts a succinct yet poignant postgame press conference for the final time that season.
Postgame: Paul Westphal 4/13/11kingsflix
Grant Napear and Jerry Reynolds’ emotional send-off at the conclusion of the Kings TV broadcast.
Sacramento Kings Final Sign-Off (with Tesla song)drewm7
CK’s Jonathan Santiago ditches former Laker coach Phil Jackson’s postgame presser midstream to capture a moment of energy inside the lower bowl of Power Balance Pavilion.
Phil Jackson post conference gets shortchanged for rousing Kings fans.mrjonsantiago
A fan’s video of the 30-minute “Here We Sit”-in inside Power Balance Pavilion following the conclusion of the game.
Lakers at Kings, April 13, 2011mike0476
Kings assistant coach Bobby Jackson shares his thoughts on the moment.
Bobby Jackson speaks after possible final game for Sacramento Kingsblakeellington
Along with Marcus Thornton, Francisco Garcia, Tyreke Evans and Donté  Greene, radio personality Carmichael Dave addresses fans who’ve stayed in the arena long after the final buzzer.
Carmichael Dave After 4/13/2011 Kings Game916eichels

Editor’s Note: We’re breaking format for coverage of tonight’s season finale.  Because tonight’s game will be about more than the game itself, there will be no preview or CK Press Box Report.

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