Sun.Star Cebu

Kings beat Hawks amid protests


On the best night of his rookie season, Sacramento’s Justin Jackson had a difficult time keeping his mind off the protests going on outside of Golden1 Center.

He was far from alone in his feelings.

Players from both the Kings and Atlanta Hawks were admittedly distracted by a large group of protesters who were locked arm-in-arm surroundin­g entrances to the arena before and during the game.

“It definitely throws you off for sure,” Jackson said after Sacramento’s 105-90 victory Thursday night. “It even throws you off going out there and seeing all those seats empty and you know why. It was definitely tough. We did a good job of trying to stay as locked in as we could.”

Jackson scored 11 of his season-high 20 points in the third quarter, shot 7 of 8 and was perfect on four shots beyond the arc to help the Kings split the season series with the Hawks while avenging their worst loss of the season. Atlanta beat Sacramento 126-80 in November.

Buddy Hield and Frank Mason scored 16 points apiece, while Kosta Koufos added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings.

The game and stats, though, were secondary to what was going on outside the arena.

A massive crowd shut down nearby freeways and gathered in the surroundin­g streets to protest the police shooting of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man who was in the backyard of his grandparen­ts’ house Sunday night. According to reports, Clark was shot 20 times.

An estimated crowd of fewer than 2,000 made it into the 17,600-seat Golden1 Center before police decided to not allow anyone else to enter. Several of those who did get in were allowed to move down into the lower bowl of the arena, leaving the upper deck empty. /

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