Wednesday night's season opener against the Denver Nuggets won't be a sentimental moment for first-year Kings coach Michael Malone.
He doesn't have time for that.
"If you take time and start reflecting on that, that's how you lose your job," Malone said Tuesday after practice. "I'm keeping my eyes on the prize. We've got a lot of work to do."
Malone said he's more concerned with giving Sacramento a team it can be proud of after the community put in so much work to keep the franchise from moving to Seattle.
While wins are nice, Malone said fans have told him they just want to see a team that works hard, tries to play defense and is unselfish.
"I want our fans to see the team that's on the floor that is reflective of the fans that fought to keep us," Malone said. "I want a team (tonight) that's going to fight, scrap, kick, claw, do whatever we have to do to get a win. I want them to be proud of the team."
There will be plenty of pageantry surrounding tonight's game with minority owner Shaquille O'Neal, NBA Commissioner David Stern and Mayor Kevin Johnson expected to be in attendance.
Guard Greivis Vasquez expects Sleep Train Arena to be "jumping" and hopes the fans' enthusiasm sparks the Kings.
"We've got to come out from the get-go with energy and intensity," Vasquez said. "That's why I was brought out here. (Tonight) we don't have no excuses. The first five minutes, let's just take over the game and play extremely hard."
Health watch -- Vasquez said he's ready for tonight's game after coming along slowly following offseason ankle surgery.
After acquiring Vasquez from New Orleans in a three-team trade in July, the Kings haven't rushed him onto the court, holding him out of the first two preseason games and slowly increasing his minutes.
"I wouldn't say I'm 100 percent," Vasquez said. "I've just got to get my game rhythm. Five months without playing, it's just hard to come out here and get 20 (points) and 10 (assists) like that."
Quick laugh -- Last week Malone's father and lead assistant coach, Brendan Malone, resigned, admitting he couldn't give his all throughout an 82-game season.
Michael Malone elicited a few laughs about the situation after conceding it was emotional to see his father leave.
"My father walked out on me, left me all alone," Malone joked. "I've got family problems. I've got stuff I've got to handle."
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