SACRAMENTO — Not everyone will shed a tear when Sleep Train Arena is put to rest after this season.
Yet there was at least one visitor who had a soft spot for the place Saturday, when the Warriors made their final regular-season stop at the old barn.
“Yeah, I like playing here,” Warriors interim coach Luke Walton confessed. “I’ve got a lot of good memories of what I like to call Arco Arena.”
Draymond Green and Stephen Curry gave the sellout crowd something to remember them by as well. Green scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Curry scored a game-high 38 points and passed out 11 assists.
“A pretty amazing team,” Kings coach George Karl said after the Warriors lit up his for 19 3-pointers in 37 tries.
Other than 19 turnovers and the cramped quarters, there weren’t any complaints on the winner’s side.
“Yeah, definitely way too many [turnovers] especially 11 in the first half,” Green said. “To be up [60-58] was amazing. We were definitely sloppy especially to the start the game.”
“I won’t miss this locker room,” said Andrew Bogut, a Kings fan back in the day. “They can dynamite this thing right now.”
As for the home team, it was craziness as usual. Operations chief Vlade Divac watched the game from a tunnel behind a basket, where he repeatedly screamed at the referees. Late in the game, loose cannon DeMarcus Cousins (33 points) threw his mouthpiece in the direction of an official, which figured to get him another call from the league office.
Walton was more at peace as a star with the University High School in San Diego, which captured the 1998 Division III championship at Arco Arena, as it was known for years.
“I think I had 25 [points], 26, something like that,” recalled Walton, who added with a wry smile, “I was good in high school. It went downhill from there, though.”
Sleep Train Arena was known for its loyal and rowdy fans, and with a few thousand Warriors supporters in attendance, this game was no different.
“The fans are great,” Walton said. “I got in the league right after [the Kings] had that really good team that used to battle the [Los Angeles] Lakers. You know, their fans show up and are loud no matter how their team is doing. It’s just a fun environment to play in.”
The only disappointment was that the NorCal neighbors were never contenders at the same time.
As for the possibility of an intense rivalry at the new Golden 1 Center in the future, Walton said. “The Kings and Lakers were a great rivalry. With the distance between here and Oakland, this would be very similar to how it was back then.”
The teams could meet at Sleep Train Arena in the postseason if the Kings (15-22) salvaged one of the final spots.
“I grew up a Kings fan when they had Peja [Stojakovic] and Vlade and Mike Bibby and even Jayson Williams before they had Bibby,” Bogut said. “I loved the way they played. I followed them a lot as a fan and know how loud the boisterous they were, so it was a pleasure to play here.”