by Charlie O. Mallonee
The Sacramento Kings have done the improbable by defeating the mighty Toronto Raptors 102-99 on Sunday at home to complete the season swept for the second consecutive season.
The win broke up a Sacramento four-game losing streak. Ironically, the Kings victory earlier in the month in Toronto also ended a four-game losing skid.
It is too early in the season to label it a “must win” game, but it was a “we need to win soon” game. The Kings have two games remaining on this homestand with Oklahoma City and Houston – two teams that are playing good basketball right now. The last thing the Kings wanted to do was go winless on a five-game homestand.
This game had one of the best endings for Kings fans in some time. If you are a Raptors fan, you do not share that opinion. In fact, you feel your team got “hosed”.
The final 101-seconds were wild
Darren Collison stole the ball from Patrick Patterson of the Raptors. Collison pushed the ball up the floor. He then passed the ball to Barnes at the top of the key. Barnes passed back to Collison who found the trailer Rudy Gay who put the ball away with commanding dunk.
Following a series of missed shots by both teams, Kyle Lowry was fouled in the act of shooting a 3-pointer by Darren Collison. Lowry hit the first two charity shots but missed the third and Cousins pulled down the rebound.
Following a 20-second timeout, the Kings were unable to make a basket after playing keep away and committed a shot clock violation.
With 2.4-seconds left is when all the fun began.
The final 2.4-seconds felt the final five-minutes … oh they were!
Following the shot clock violation, the Raptors took a 20-second timeout which meant they would inbound the ball in the frontcourt. Toronto had to have a 3-point basket to tie the game and force an overtime session.
DeMarre Carroll was the player who was selected to inbound the ball. DeMarcus Cousins was put on Carroll to defend against the inbound pass. At the whistle, Carroll threw the inbounds pass to Terrence Ross. The ball hit the floor before Ross picked it up. Ross then took a 30-foot shot that was a beautiful “swish” shot for a game-tying 3-pointer. The ball clearly went through the basket before the red light lit up around the backboard.
DeMarcus Cousins immediately indicated to anyone who would listen that he had tipped the inbounds pass. If he did, the clock should have started then and Ross’ shot may have come too late to count.
Because it was under two minutes, the play went to an automatic video review to the NBA Video Replay Center in Secaucus, New Jersey for the final decision. After a complete review, the final decision was Cousins did indeed deflect the ball which means the clock started at the point. Running the clock from that point Ross’ shot came after time had expired, so the basket did not count. Kings win the game 102-99.
Toronto head coach Dwane Casey was incredibly upset with the officials and the decision. However, no one would expect him to be happy to have a potential tie game taken away from his team.
Important numbers for the Kings
- Rudy Gay was the Kings high-scorer with 23 points and needed just 13 shots to tally those points. It was a nice comeback after having to two rough games.
- DeMarcus Cousins recorded another double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds) despite missing considerable minutes in the first half with foul trouble
- Darren Collison put up 15 points and added nine assists in a very active game for the point guard
- Arron Afflalo scored 14 points in 19 minutes coming off the bench
- The lead changed 11 times in the game
- This game was tied 13 times
- The Kings shot 40.7-percent (11-for-27) from 3-point land
- Sacramento held DeMar DeRozan – the NBA’s leading scorer – to just 12 points
Key stats for the Raptors
- Kyle Lowry led the Raptors scoring effort with 25 points. He went 9-for-10 from the free throw line
- Center Jonas Valanciunas – who did not play against the Kings in Toronto – put up 23 and hauled in 14 rebounds for the double-double in 37 minutes of playing time
- DeMarre Carroll hit for 17 points to make 4-0f-5 starters in double figures
- The Raptors shot 91.7-percent (22-for-24) from the free throw line
The Kings are off until Wednesday when they will host Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Raptors have the back-end of a back-to-back on the road tomorrow night in Los Angeles versus the Clippers.