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Volume 24 No. 158
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NBA Franchise Notes: Johnson Confident Sacramento Will Keep Kings

In Sacramento, Lillis & Bizjak in a front-page piece note Anaheim is "back in the race" to take in the NBA Kings. And a new "contender, Seattle -- jilted once by the NBA -- made headlines Thursday by announcing a new proposal to finance an arena and lure a team." But Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is "confident his city will prevail." Johnson said, "I can't blame Seattle. If we were without a team, I would be doing the same thing. But we have laser focus, we control our own destiny and we're closer than we've ever been." Political consultant Doug Elmets said that progress in Seattle and Anaheim "could actually work in Johnson's favor." He said, "In a twisted way, (arena supporters) should use this to their advantage in the hopes that it will help the City Council and others within the community realize that other communities are eager to lure the Kings" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/17).

BUILDING EARLY BUZZ: In Milwaukee, Don Walker noted although the Knicks will not visit the Bucks until March 9, Bucks VP/Business Operations John Steinmiller said that there has been a "boomlet in ticket sales for the game over the past couple of days" in part due to the emergence of Knicks G Jeremy Lin. Steinmiller said that a "couple of hundred tickets were sold." He added that it was "a little unusual for a ticket spike like that for a game a few weeks away" (, 2/16).

BEHIND ENEMY LINES: In Toronto, Steve Buffery wrote under the header, "Quit Cheering The Enemy." Buffery: "If I’m Jose Calderon and the Toronto Raptors, I’m not at all happy with the excessive cheering for Jeremy Lin at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night." It is a "shame that Toronto fans, while loyal and enthusiastic, are so fluffy." Buffery wrote, "Do you think those Lin supporters would get away with their sis-boom-bah act in places like Philadelphia? No one wants violence at a basketball game, but, frankly, there has to be some sort of intimidation factor in your home barn" (TORONTO SUN, 2/15). Tuesday was Asian Heritage Night, and Lin said, “Half the crowd would go crazy when we scored, the other half would go crazy when they scored” ("Boomer & Carton," WFAN-AM, 2/16). 

: In S.F., Rusty Simmons notes about 500 fans got to hear Warriors G Stephen Curry's "direct responses" to questions after Wednesday's game against the Trail Blazers as part of the team's "Tweetup Night." Participating fans received an "exclusive Q&A session, a Twitter-inspired T-shirt and designated tickets to the game." The event was the Warriors' "latest promotion using Twitter to engage fans and reward followers with exclusive opportunities" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/17).