The Kings' move to Sacramento from Kansas City is already a success--financially. They fill their temporary home to its 10,333 capacity for every home game.
Although they are the only team in the Midwest Division below .500, there are indications the Kings may yet give their fans something to shout about.
In their most impressive performance of the season, Sacramento soundly trounced the Detroit Pistons, 122-112, Saturday night at Pontiac, Mich. It was only the second win in 10 road games for the Kings and improved their record to 7-13.
The pattern for the victories on the road has been the same: Sharpshooter Mike Woodson comes off the bench to shake up a lethargic offense and get the Kings rolling.
The Kings fell behind in this one, 27-26, but Woodson scored 11 of his game-high 29 points in the second quarter as the Kings moved ahead. Then, Woodson scored eight more points in a 15-4 surge at the start of the fourth quarter that sent the Kings ahead, 100-89. The Pistons were never closer than five points again.
"We seem to play well at home where the fans really get behind us," Woodson, a six-year veteran who seems to thrive coming off the bench, said. "On the road, we really have been struggling.
"I was just glad to play a part. I haven't been playing that well. But, maybe, it is the start of something good."
The 6-5 guard from Indiana played 33 minutes. He was 10 for 14 from the field and a perfect 9 for 9 from the line. He also had four rebounds and an assist.
Isiah Thomas practically kept the Pistons in the game by himself. Although still limping because of a knee injury, the brilliant guard scored 27 points, had 6 rebounds and contributed 12 assists.
Reggie Theus scored 28 for the Kings. Both Theus and Woodson played more than usual because playmaker Larry Drew was in early foul trouble.
Houston 116, Chicago 104--Their loss Friday night to the Lakers at the Forum gave the Rockets only a 3-7 record on the road. At home, they are the only team in the NBA with a perfect record.
Akeem Olajuwon scored 33 points as the Rockets came from behind to run their record at home to 12-0.
The Bulls led much of the way and with nine minutes remaining, the score was 93-93. But Olajuwon led the Rockets on a 14-2 burst that sent the Bulls down to their 16th loss in 24 games.
New Jersey 118, Portland 106--The Trail Blazers, coming off a stunning victory Friday night at Boston, were still on a high when the game at East Rutherford, N.J., began. With Jim Paxson scoring 10 points and the Nets making 10 turnovers, the Trail Blazers zoomed to a 33-19 lead.
Then, Micheal Ray Richardson took charge and the Nets ended their three-game losing streak. Richardson had 33 points, 12 assists and just missed a triple-double when he could only pick off nine rebounds.
The Nets pulled within a point at halftime and moved in front, 87-80, after three quarters and went on to hand the Blazers their fourth loss in the last five games.
Cleveland 124, Denver 114--World B. Free scored 31 points at Richfield, Ohio to help the Cavaliers knock the Nuggets out of a share of first in the Midwest Division. The Nuggets' Alex English, the league's scoring leader, had 30 points, 21 in the second half.
Dallas 120, Golden State 110--Although he scored only seven points and pulled down only six rebounds in his first starting roll, 7-2 center James Donaldson continued to be a good luck charm for the Mavericks. This win at Dallas gave them a 5-1 record since acquiring Donaldson from the Clippers.