Kings-Raptors postgame notes page 2

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Toronto Raptors v Sacramento Kings
Rudy Gay jams home the final Kings points of the game on Sunday night Photo: Rocky Widner NBAE

NBA Crew Chief Mike Callahan answers questions on the last 2.4-seconds of the Kings vs Raptors game

Dave Joerger said no small lineup and then said yes

In his pregame press conference, Kings head coach Dave Joerger said he was not sure that a “small ball” lineup was going to happen against the Raptors. Joerger indicated he was really upset after the game on Friday and may have spoken to quickly.

Then … we were waiting for the starting lineups to be announced. They are usually brought to the press tables approximately 20 minutes before the start of the game. We were still waiting for the lineups when the National Anthem was performed.

Just before the player introductions, we received the official starters sheet. Coach Joerger decided to go small. Cousins slid into the number five slot while Gay and Matt Barnes took over the forward positions. Joerger went with twin point guards – Ty Lawson and Darren Collison to start the contest.

The small lineup played fast but was not able to overcome the four to five point lead the Raptors had established. At the 6:23 mark, Joerger switched things up and inserted center Kosta Koufos for Lawson.

The Kings responded to the new configuration and tied the score. Then, the “2 bigs” unit started establishing a lead that grew as large as 10 points. At the end of the first period, Sacramento was up 36-28.

The Kings had a tough second quarter without Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins picked up two personal fouls in the first quarter which was obviously part of the Raptors plan to neutralize the Kings star center. With 8:54 to go in the second, Joerger felt like he had to get Cousins back on the floor. At 8:34 on the clock, Cousins was headed back to the bench having picked up his third personal foul.

Willie Cauley-Stein came into the game for Cousins and the second-year center went to school. He had the task of trying to defend Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas. At seven feet and a solid 265 pounds, the very experienced Valanciunas was just too much for Cauley-Stein to handle by himself.The Toronto center scored six points, grabbed two rebounds and blocked a shot during Cauley-Stein’s time on the floor.

Kosta Koufos reentered the game and was able to slow down Valanciunas while Rudy Gay and Arron Afflalo went to work scoring points. The Kings were able to cut the Toronto lead to five – 63 to 58 – at the half.

Toronto Raptors v Sacramento Kings
Jonas Valanciunas Photo Rocky Widner NBAE

Kings got small again in the third quarter

Dave Joerger returned to his “small” starting lineup to start the third period. The small Kings kept the game with five points but were unable to cut into the Raptors lead.

At 7:17, the Kings returned to the “2 bigs” lineup when Koufous subbed back into the game. The presence of Cousins and Koufos made Toronto’s Valanciunas much less effective.

Sacramento – led by a quick five points from Matt Barnes – began to score points. First, they tied the score. Then, Cousins converted a layup and the Kings took the lead. Sacramento scored the final four points of the quarter. At the end of three quarters, the Kings held the lead 86-81.

The fourth quarter lacked execution

Both teams shot just 25-percent from the floor in the final period. Toronto scored 18 points and the Kings 16 points in the quarter. Rudy Gay had the hot hand for the Kings shooting 3-for-5 and scoring seven points including the crucial final two points of the game for Sacramento.

Kyle Lowry tried to will the Raptors back into the game single handedly. He scored nine points, hauled in five defensive rebounds and dished out two assists in the final 12-minutes.

Toronto committed seven turnovers that created seven points for the Kings while Sacramento turned the ball over just three times which yielded three points for the Raptors.

Each team had four starters with 30 or more minutes of playing time in the game.

Joerger went deep into the bench

After having played a shorter rotation in several games, the Kings  used 11 players against the Raptors. Only Omri Casspi and Gerorgios Papagiannis did not play. Coach Joerger was very proud of his team and their effort.

A little rest and some practice time

The Kings will get some time to rest and get in some practice as they will not play again until Wednesday night when they will host the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder will be playing the second game of a back-to-back set after facing the Lakers on Tuesday night in LA.




Kings win a thriller over the Raptors 102-99

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Toronto Raptors v Sacramento Kings
Raptors vs Kings Photo: Rocky Widner NBAE

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
Toronto Raptors v Sacramento Kings
Kyle Lowry and Darren Collison Photo: Rocky Widner NBAE

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

Up next

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.



Kings Countdown: “Small ball” arrives for the Raptors on Sunday in Sac

by Charlie O. Mallonee


Kings head coach Dave Joerger has seen enough

“I’ve seen enough.We’re going to play small. DeMarcus is going to play center. I don’t know who else will play with him. It just gives us more zip, more life, more experience. That’s not any detriment to anyone else or what they’ve done.” That quote is from Dave Joerger’s postgame press conference on Friday night after the Kings lost to the Clippers 121-115.

After watching his team being blown off the court in the first half by the Clippers, Joerger shook up his lineup in the second half by going small with Cousins at the five, Gay at forward and three guards – Lawson, Afflalo and Collison. The result was improved shooting percentage, higher point production and better defense.

Kings had lost four in a row the last time they played Toronto

Sacramento faced the Raptors in Toronto at the end of a five-game/seven-day road trip that had seen the Kings lose four consecutive games. Expectations were very low for the Kings chances after they had been dominated by the Bucks in Milwaukee the night before.

To everyone’s surprise – especially the Raptors – the Kings played a strong game led by Rudy Gay’s 23 points and DeMarcus Cousins double-double (22 points, 14 rebounds) to defeat Toronto 96-91.

The Sacramento defense was as intense as it had been all season in that game in Toronto. The Kings held DeMar DeRozan under 30 points for the first time in the season. He had scored 30-plus points in the five consecutive games to start the season.

Kings can sweep the series for the second consecutive year

Sacramento swept the season series in 2015-16. Now, the Kings have the opportunity to do that again after winning the first game in Toronto.

The Raptors are a Tier-1 team which means they are definitely a playoff team that has chance to make it to the NBA Finals. They made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season where they lost to the eventual NBA Champions – the Cleveland Cavaliers. projects the Raptors as being the number two seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs this season with a 20-percent chance of being the top seed.

The Kings are still a Tier-3 team which means they basically have no chance of making the playoffs and will be a lottery team again. FiveThirtyEight currently projects the Kings have a 12-percent chance of becoming a playoff team.

Toronto beat the Nuggets 113-111 in OT on Friday night on the road in Denver

The Raptors Terrance Ross hit a 3-pointer with 37.6 seconds to go in the game and Emmanuel Mudiay missed from halfcourt as time ran out and Toronto won in overtime 113-111. DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points for the 10th time in 12 games this season for the Raptors. Kyle Lowry posted a double-double by scoring 18 points and dishing out 13 assists for Toronto in the contest.

Toronto Raptors v Denver Nuggets

The Raptors aren’t afraid of the road

Toronto (8-4) is 4-1 on the this season. The Raptors will not be intimidated just because they are coming into a new arena in Sacramento. Evidently, the Raptors don’t understand that they are supposed to have a 60-percent chance of losing because they are the visitors.

The key to winning is to stop DeRozan

DeRozan is currently the leading scorer in the NBA at 33.0 points per game. He is shooting 50.3-percent from field and leads all players with 145 field goals.

The Kings will also have to neutralize Jonas Valanciunas

Valanciunas did not play in the game in Toronto due to injury. He scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the Denver game Friday night. Valanciunas ranks seventh with a field goal percentage of 57.8-percentage.

Toronto Raptors v Denver Nuggets

For entertainment purposes only predicts the Raptors have a 63-percent of winning the game on the Sunday night in Sacramento. They also say take Toronto minus 3.5 points.

The sports books show the game going to Toronto minus 1 to 3.5 points. The over/under is a consistent 209.5 points.