The San Francisco Giants have the River Cats; the Sacramento Kings the Reno Bighorns.
The Bighorns came to Golden 1 Center Sunday, playing their only home game of the year outside of Reno, defeating the Salt Lake City Stars 116-86, and setting a single-game team attendance record in the process, drawing a crowd of 6,591.
Since 2008, when the then called NBA D-(Development) League was established, the Bighorns, who normally play at the Reno Events Center, have enjoyed an operational working agreement with Sacramento. In October 2016, that relationship deepened when the Kings announced they had acquired a controlling interest in the Bighorns, assuming all business operations. Meanwhile, a partnership agreement with Gatorade meant a name change for the league, which is now called the NBA G-League.
The 26-team League is the NBA’s official minor league, preparing players, coaches, officials, trainers, and front-office staff for the NBA, while acting as the league’s research and development laboratory.
Sunday was a case in point on how that agreement works, as rookie forward Justin Jackson and the second-year 7-foot-1 center from Greece, Georgios Papagiannis, both played after having been on the Kings’ roster just the night before.
Jackson led all scorers with 25 points, while Papagiannis had 18 points in Reno’s win over last-place Salt Lake. Also, Sacramento State grad Cody Demps, now with Reno, saw action before the home crowd, scoring 7 points.
The Bighorns are 12-11 on the season and in third place of the league’s Pacific Division. Their season runs until March 24.