by Charlie O. Mallonee
Kings victorious in final game of road trip
The Sacramento Kings bounced back from playing one of their worst games of the season on Saturday in Milwaukee to playing one of their best games of the year on Sunday in Toronto to defeat the Raptors 96-91. Toronto (4-2) had won three consecutive games. The Kings (3-5) had lost four games in a row.
The Kings have played what has been rated the toughest schedule so far this season in the NBA. Five games in seven nights on the road in the Eastern Conference traveling from Miami to Toronto is brutal. It is also the reality of playing in the NBA. Every team has stretches in their schedules like this and to be successful a team has to deal with the difficulties.
The Kings found a way to deal with best team they had to face on this road trip by stepping up their defense and shortening the rotation off the bench. Head coach Dave Joerger used just nine players off his bench on Sunday night and his veteran players came through for him with the extended playing time – especially on defense.
The Kings held the hot shooting Raptors to just 35.7-percent (30-for-84) from the floor. The Toronto guard tandem of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry entered the contest averaging 53 points combined per game. The Sacramento defense held them to just 38 combined points on Sunday night.
DeRozan had scored at least 30 points in each of Toronto’s five games this year. The Kings held him to just 23 points.
The Sacramento Kings won on Sunday because of their defense. It has been awhile since you have read those words.
It’s deja vu all over again
The Kings swept the two -game series with the Raptors last season. The Kings won 107-101 in Sacramento behind DeMarcus Cousins 36 points and 10 rebounds. The Kings downed the Raptors in Toronto 104-94 when they had six players score in double figures.
The Kings will have a chance to complete the sweep this season on Sunday November 20 when the Raptors will visit the Golden 1 Center.
Kings dominate the paint
Toronto was without starting center Jonas Valanciunas who sat out because of a left knee contusion. That meant the Raptors 2016 first-round draft pick Jakob Poeltl and Lucas Nogueira who the Raptors have been developing overseas and in the D-League since 2011 had to play the five spot. Poeltl looked like a rookie and eventually fouled out of the game. Nogueria who was seeing his first action of the season after being out because of a sprained ankle looked very good. It is easy to see why Toronto has invested in his development.
The Kings dominated the paint outscoring the Raptors 52-30. Sacramento also out-rebounded Toronto 47-43.
Rudy Gay led the Kings scoring attack with 23 points. Gay missed the game in Milwaukee with sore ribs. He played the game in Toronto with his ribs wrapped which did affect his shooting as he went 9-for-19 from the floor.
DeMarcus Cousins posted another double-double game with 22 points and 14 rebounds to go with four assists. Cousins was much more effective from out on the high post than down low under the basket. When he would drive the lane, Cousins was virtually unstoppable.
Ty Lawson was very good on the point dishing out 11 assists and adding five points. Shooting guard Arron Afflalo scored 12 points off just eight shots.
Matt Barnes was a force on defense and scored eight points plus grabbed 10 rebounds. Garrett Temple impacted the game with presence scoring eight points to go with a steal and a blocked shot.
DeRozan led the Raptors in scoring with 23 points but went 7-for-20 shooting. Lowry had 10 assists. Nogueia was the Raptors leading rebounder with five.
Dave Joerger was a happy man after the game
In the postgame press conference Joerger said:
- He was really proud of his guys and how they responded in a back-to-back game
- They (the Kings) get after people defensively
- We had seven guys with two or more rebounds
- We kept the turnovers down (the Kings had 11 turnovers and gave up just two points off those turnovers)
- We had seven stops in a row with under 2:30 to play
- A win like this gives you confidence
- Rudy (Gay) gave us a big boost
What’s coming up
The Kings have a long flight home and then must get ready to face the New Orleans Pelicans (0-6) on Tuesday night at the Golden 1 Center. Sacramento then has the Lakers (3-3) at home on Thursday night before heading back out on the road.
The Raptors hit the road and will face the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Wednesday. They then travel to Charlotte to face the Hornets on Friday night.