by Charlie O. Mallonee
The Sacramento Kings (2-6) went from having to play the worst team in the NBA East on Sunday night in the New York Knicks to having to face the defending NBA World Champion Toronto Raptors (5-2) on Wednesday night. While it is true the Raptors no longer have Kawhi, they still have a very competitive team that will go to the playoffs.
The Kings could have easily phoned this game in and saved their energy for the final game of the road trip in Atlanta. They chose not to do that. Luke Walton’s team showed up and played hard. They kept the outcome of the game in question until the final seconds of the contest. When the final buzzer sounded, the Raptors won the game 124-120, but they knew that Kings came very close to stealing this game on the road.
The Kings made it rain
Sacramento tied a franchise record by hitting 20 3-point baskets on Wednesday night. The Kings went 20-for-44 from “downtown” (45.5%). It was almost like the Raptors were daring them to shoot from behind the arc.
Buddy Hield just missed a 3-point shot with just seconds left that might have become a four-point opportunity that potentially could have tied the game. Hield went 5-for-7 from long range in the game.
Bogdan Bogdanovic led the Kings in 3-point scoring connecting on 6 of 11 attempts from behind the 3-point line.
The Kings had a slow start in the game as they allowed the Raptors to outscore them 36-23 in the first quarter. Toronto shot 77.8% (14-for-18) from the floor including six 3-point buckets in the opening 12 minutes.
That slow start meant the Kings had to expel a lot of energy to get themselves back into the game in the second quarter. That was energy they would not have late in the game to help them overcome the Raptors lead.
Battle for points in the paint
While the Kings won the 3-point shooting battle, the Raptors owned the scoring down low in the paint. Toronto outscored the Sacramento 52-32 in the paint.
By being able to score in the paint, the Raptors were able to take high-percentage shots. They finished the game shooting 55.1% from the field (43-for-78) with 26 of those baskets being hit in the paint.
Pascal Siakam (23 pts), Serge Ibaka (21 pts), OG Anunoby (18 pts) and Marc Gasol (12 pts) were just too much of a force for the Kings defense to overcome. Siakam made it a double-double night by adding 13 rebounds.
Battle of the boards
Sacramento outrebounded the Toronto 43-37. Twelve of the Kings rebounds came on offense which allowed them to win the battle for 2nd chance points 13-2.
Richaun Holmes and Buddy Hield led the Kings rebounding efforts with eight each.
Focus on the Kings
Harrison Barnes scored a game-high 26 points on Tuesday night. He shot 7-for-15 in the game including four 3-point baskets and converting 8 of 10 from the free throw line.
- Bogdan Bogdanovic put 22 points in the scorebook by hitting 7 of 14 field goal attempts.
- Buddy Hield connected on 7 of 16 shots (5 3-point baskets) for a 21 point night.
- De’Aaron Fox had a 21 point, nine assists and seven-rebound night. He did have to battle foul trouble early in the game.
The Kings wrap up their three-game road trip on Friday night in Atlanta (3-4)
The Raptors begin what their radio crew called a “murderous” five-game road on Friday night in New Orleans.