From his seat at what was once called ARCO Arena, Dale Carlsen clutched his cowbell and held his breath.

It was May 28, 2002, and the Sacramento Kings, the team Carlsen loves as ardently as a Baseline Bum loves the Spurs, trailed the Lakers by a point in the final seconds of Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, the best-of-7 series tied at two games.

When Kings point guard Mike Bibby lofted a perfect jumper to secure a 92-91 victory, Carlsen and more than 17,000 fans clanged the cowbells that had become their trademark noisemakers and roared until they were hoarse, convinced their heroes had punched their tickets to the Finals.

“The energy was so great,” Carlsen said. “The game was the game, but the feeling of being there, everything around it, buildings painted purple, everyone in town just wanting it so bad, that was priceless.”

It would be Sacramento’s greatest pro basketball moment, as the Lakers won Games 6 and 7 and advanced to the Finals.

How could Carlsen and his fellow fans know that 11 years later, they would be holding their breath again, hoping against hope for another good outcome for their Kings?

At stake this time is the team’s future in Sacramento.