Kings come up just short in their battle with the Raptors on Wednesday night, 124-120

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Graphic: @NBCS

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.

Sluggish start

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.

Supporting cast

  • 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.

Up next

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.

 

No Kawhi–no problem! Raptors beat Kings 120-105 Tuesday night

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Photo:@Raptors

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Toronto Raptors handed the Kings their second consecutive loss in two days as they downed Sacramento 120-105 at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday night. This was the second game of a back-to-back set that began in Brooklyn on Monday. The Nets beat the Kings 123-94 on MLK Day.

Battle of the Tiers

The Raptors are a Tier One team. They know that they will be playing deep into the month of May and could be playing in the month of June for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Their 36 wins are the most in the NBA to date.

The Kings are a Tier Three team that is working very hard to become a Tier Two team. Becoming a Tier Two team does not mean that they would make the playoffs this season, but it would mean they would have very few ping pong balls in the barrel for the NBA Draft Lottery.

The Kings are just four wins away from matching their win total of the 2017-18 season, and they still have 34 games to play in the regular season. Sacramento is just 1.5 games out playoff contention, even after losing on Tuesday night.

Both teams played shorthanded

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Up North Starting Five @Raptors

The Raptors played without Kawhi Leonard, who has been on an eight-day break. Leonard has now sat out 13 games this season and the Raptors are 11-2 without him in the lineup. That is what you call depth.

Toronto plays the Pacers in Indiana on Wednesday night, and it is believed that the Raptors felt it was more important to have Kawhi available for that game than to play against the Kings at home on Tuesday night.

The official reason for Leonard’s absence was “Rest-Load Management”. Some observers are beginning to ask if Leonard would be worth a long-term contract investment since he has needed to be rested 13 times in 49 games to date this season.

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Kings Starting Five @SacramentoKings

The Kings also held out three key players on Tuesday night. De’Aaron Fox and Nemanja Bjelica did not dress and did not play. That was listed as a coach’s decision. Iman Shumpert was also held out of the game for “Rest-Load Management”.

Coach Dave Joerger mentioned in his postgame comments that two of those players went through therapy on Tuesday without giving any details. It would be fair to project that Fox was one of those players since he has needed on-going attention for a shoulder he injured approximately one month ago.

The Raptors did not miss a beat without Kawhi

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Siakam jams it home Photo: @Raptors

Six Raptors scored in double figures in the win over the Kings on Tuesday night (four were starters):

  • Fred VanVleet put up 19 points to go with seven assists and seven rebounds. VanVleet has been the “designated started” when Leonard has been unavailable.
  • Kyle Lowry also scored 19 points and dished out nine dimes in 34-minutes on the floor.
  • Pascal Siakam put 18 points up on the board, shooting 8-for-14 from the floor.
  • Serge Ibaka had a double-double night, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
  • CJ Miles came off the bench to score 15 points in just over 15-minutes in the game. Miles hit 4-of-5 3-point attempts.
  • Norman Powell was the last of the double-figure scorers with 11 points.

Toronto refused to let the Kings build a lead in this game. The biggest lead for SAC on the night was five points. There were seven lead changes and six ties. The Raptors’ largest lead of the game was 19 points.

The Kings had seven players score in double figures

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Graphic @SacramentoKings

Sacramento has some strong individual performances, but they could not put together the runs they needed to stay with the Raptors. Much like game on Monday in Brooklyn, the Kings kept things close in the first half then the game started slipping away in the third quarter. By the time the clock started in the fourth quarter, the game became a runaway for the home team.

Important Kings performers:

  • Marvin Bagley III made his first start of the season and he did not disappoint. MBIIIV scored a game-high 22 points and made it a double-double by adding 11 rebounds. It will not be his last start of the season.
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic put 16 points in the book to go along with nine assists and eight rebounds. “Bogi” also had three steals in the contest.
  • Buddy Hield scored a “quiet” 15 points in the game. He shot 5-for-14 overall and hit just two 3-point baskets. Hield did dish out five assists, but one has to wonder if fatigue was not a bit of a factor for “Buddy Buckets” in the game.
  • Harry Giles III had a very productive 22-plus minutes off the bench for the Kings on Tuesday night. He scored 11 points, shooting 4-for-8 from the floor.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein, Yogi Ferrell and Ben McLemore each scored 10 points in the game.

Key Numbers

  • The Kings outscored the Raptors 50-46 in the paint
  • Toronto scored 24 Second Chance Points to 12 for Sacramento
  • The Raptors scored 26 Fast Break Points to 16 for the Kings

Up Next

The Kings (24-24) will travel to Memphis on Wednesday to prepare for their game with the Grizzlies (19-28) on Friday night.

The Raptors (36-13) will face the Pacers (31-15) in Indy on Wednesday night.

Another slow start sinks the Kings: Raptors win sixth straight 102-87

 

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JaKarr Sampson drives to the hoop versus the Raptors (Photo Jordan Chapin SportsRadioService.com)

by Charlie O. Mallonee with Jordan Chapin

Sacramento – On Sunday afternoon, I had to keep slapping myself in the face and saying we’re not in Milwaukee anymore Toto. Still it felt like we were in Wisconsin eight nights ago when the Bucks opened the game with a 14-0 run on the Kings because the Toronto Raptors opened the game on Sunday in Sacramento with 13-0 run on Kings.

Just like they did last week in Milwaukee, the Kings made a game out of it thanks to some outstanding play by their second-unit led by the scoring of Buddy Hield and the hustle of “Two-way” signee JaKarr Sampson. Zach Randolph also continued to be the grind it out, being the blue collar leader the Kings hoped he would be by producing another double-double game.

At the end of 48-minutes of basketball, the results in Sacramento were the same as they were in Milwaukee. The Kings had to hang another “L” on their schedule board as they lost the game 102-87. The Kings record now stands at 8-18 for the season

With the victory, the Raptors improve to 17-7 for the season. They have won six consecutive games including the first two games of this four-game road trip. Toronto plays the Clippers in LA on Monday night and then face the Suns in Phoenix on Wednesday before heading back across the border.

Sacramento

Kings star of the game

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Z-Bo settles his team during a timeout late in the game (Photo Jordan Chapin SportsRadioService.com)

Co-writer Jordan Chapin and I had a split decision on who should be the Kings star of the game.

Chapin went with Zach Randolph which is a very difficult choice to argue with in this case. The 36-year old veteran led the Kings in scoring with 19 points and in rebounds with 11. It is his fourth double-double performance of the season. Randolph also led the team in time on the floor playing almost 34-minutes.

I selected Bogdan Bogdanovic who tallied 15 points in the game shooing 5-for-10 from the floor and hitting 4-of-8 3-point attempts. He made the start in place of George Hill who was not with the team for personal reasons. Bogdanovic played almost 30-minutes and scored seven points in the first-half and eight in the second-half. The Kings “oldest rookie” also always impresses with his hustle on defense

Kings co-stars

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Buddy Hield directs the offense against the Raptors (Photo Jordan Chapin SportsRadioService.com)

Buddy Hield was given strong consideration for star of the game. “Buddy Buckets” posted 17-points connecting on 7-of-13 field goal attempts and converting 3-of-5 tries from “downtown”. He grabbed three rebounds, had two assists and added one steal. The one downside to his game was six turnovers.

JaKarr Sampson played hard in his 19-minutes on the court. Sampson went a perfect 5-for-5 shooting including one 3-pointer. He also made four rebounds and blocked three shots. Before you get to excited about Sampson, Dave Joerger indicated in the postgame press conference that JaKarr would be headed back to Reno as soon as Willie Cauley-Stein is game-ready again. Sampson is a victim of too many players and too few playing minutes.

Also seen in limited supporting roles for the Kings

Skal Labissiere rejoined the Kings after playing one game with the Reno Bighorns. Labissiere actually made the start playing just over 14-minutes. He scored six points and pulled down six rebounds.

Justin Jackson also returned from his stint in Reno. He played just over 33-minutes scoring three-points, hauled in five rebounds and dished out three assists.

Toronto

Raptors star of the game

DeMar DeRozan made it easy to choose him as the Raptors star of the game by scoring 25-points while shooting 9-for-15 from the field. The talented guard also converted 7-of-11 attempts from the free throw line. DeRozan also handed out nine assists in his almost 35-minutes on the court.

Raptors co-starts

Serge Ibaka was a 20-point man for Toronto in the game. He shot 8-for-13 overall and sank 4-of-7 from behind the arc. Ibaka also grabbed four rebounds.

The other member of the Raptors dynamic backcourt duo Kyle Lowrie has to be given credit as well. He scored 15 points and recorded a double-double by adding 12 rebounds. He did all of that while working through a 4-for-17 shooting night. That is what you call hanging in there.

Team numbers

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De’Aaron Fox was not afraid to go up against the veteran DeRozan (Photo Jordan Chapin SportsRadioService.com)

Sacramento

  • Turnovers 21 which resulted in 27 Raptors points. They had just 15 assists – that ratio will never be acceptable at any level of basketball
  • 42 rebounds including 7 offensive rebounds
  • Shooting: 47.9-percent overall (35-73) – 10-for-23 (43.5-percent) for 3-point field goals
  • Free throws 7-for-14: percentage is too low. The number of attempts is too low.
  • Kings biggest lead of the game: 1

Toronto

  • Shooting 39-for-87 (44.8-percent) from the floor. The Kings had a better shooting percentage but the Raptors made 14 more attempts and while making 3 additional two-pointers, 1 more three-pointer and they converted six additional free throws for the 14 points they outscored the Kings by in the game.
  • 44 rebounds – 12 on offense.
  • Raptors largest lead 15 points

Up next for the Kings

The Phoenix Suns will visit the Golden 1 Center to take on the Kings on Tuesday night. Sacramento will then head out on a four-game road trip and will not return home until December 23.

 

 

Warriors slip by Thunder behind Curry’s 34 points

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND — Stephen Curry scored 34 points and handed out nine assists, elevating the Golden State Warriors to a 114-109 home win over the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder Thursday night after clawing back from a 17-point deficit early in the game.

“We stepped up tonight,” Curry said after the game. “We had to battle tonight and once we got stops and transitions, we felt good.”

Golden State (22-3), bounced back tonight after snapping their franchise-record 16-game winning streak in Tuesday’s 105-98 loss at Memphis. The Warriors improved to 9-1 at home this season, and have won 17 of their last 18 games.

Oklahoma City came out and jumped ahead of Golden State, building a 40-32 first quarter lead. Kevin Durant scored 16 of his 30 points in the first quarter sinking 6 of his first 7 shots from the floor, including 5 for 6 from 3-point range. Oklahoma City made 15 of its first 25 shots.

The 40 points scored by the Thunder in the first quarter were the most points surrendered by Golden State in any quarter this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Durant appeared to be heading for big night, but sprained his right ankle late in the second quarter and didn’t return to the game.

The reigning league Most Valuable Player finished with 30 points in 20 minutes on 10 of 13 shooting, becoming the first player since the NBA/ABA merger in 1976 to score at least 30 points in 20 minutes, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“I wanted to go back out and play, but thought I should be cautious about it,” said Durant after the game.

Russell Westbrook picked up the scoring slack for the Thunder, finishing with a team-high 33 points and eight assists. Serge Ibaka had 12 points, while Andre Roberson finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Six players finished in double figures for Golden State, who converted 32 assists into 48 made field goals (48 of 64) and shot 51 percent from the floor. Golden State shot the lights out from from 3-point range, draining 12 of 31 from behind the arc.

Draymond Green finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, and a career-high nine assists.

Harrison Barnes and Shaun Livingston each scored 12 points, and Marreese Speights had 8 points. Barnes also grabbed seven rebounds.

The Warriors dominated the Thunder in the paint, outscoring Oklahoma City 52-36 and forced 15 Thunder turnovers, while only committing just nine. Golden State rattled off a 35-18 run in the second quarter to pull ahead of Oklahoma City, 49-48, which led to a 65-63 halftime lead for the Warriors who never looked back.

It took a total team effort for Golden State to snap Oklahoma City’s (12-14) seven-game winning streak, after continuing to play without center Andrew Bogut (right knee) and forward David Lee (left hamstring).

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr reaffirmed general manger Bob Myers’ recent comments that Lee could be back on the court Monday for the Warriors’ next home game Monday night against Sacramento

“David Lee will be back next week, probably,” Kerr said.

Bogut is a different story.

Bogut is expected to be out a number of weeks after undergoing platelet-rich plasma therapy on his right knee Wednesday.

 

 

Durant’s Career Night Overshadows Curry in Warriors 127-121 Loss

By Matthew Harrington

In a battle of two of the top stars of the NBA, Stephen Curry’s Warriors dropped a 127-121 shootout to Kevin Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder (30-10) Friday night from Chesapeake Energy Arena. Curry collected his fifth-career 30 point, 10 assist game for the Warriors (25-16), but Durant’s career night spoiled Curry’s performance.

Most Valuable Player candidate Durant accounted for over a third of the Thunder’s baskets, torching the Warriors for a career-best 54 points on 19 of 28 shooting and 11 free throws. Curry led the Warriors with 37 points on 11 of 18 shooting, including six three-pointers, and added 11 assists to complete the double-double. Back court mate Klay Thompson nailed six treys to add 26 points of his own, while Thunder forward Serge Ibaka produced 21 points over 35 minutes of play. Thunder center Kendrick Perkins led all players in rebounds with 12, while David Lee reeled in nine for the Warriors. In total, the Thunder out-boarded the Warriors 41-33.

The two sides played it neck-to-neck to open the first nine minutes of play with Golden State leading with a slim 25-23 lead. The Thunder then went on a 14-7 run to close out the first leading 39-32. The Dubs took their first lead of the second quarter after Curry knocked down a shot from the charity stripe on a technical foul to give the Warriors a 56-55 lead with 3:48 left in the half. The Thunder closed out the half on a 16-9 run to hold a 71-65 lead at the midway point.

The home team expanded their lead 101-91 after the first 12 minutes of the second half before breaking the game open for a game-high 14 points lead, 123-109, with 2:45 left. Golden State outpaced their hosts 12-4 down the stretch for a respectable seven-point defeat to the third-place Thunder.

The Warriors hit the hardwood again tomorrow night, traveling to New Orleans for a Saturday night tip-off against the New Orleans Pelicans in Golden State’s sixth road game of the month.

Iguodala buzzer beater tops Thunder, 116-115

By Gabe Schapiro

Welcome to Oakland Andre Iguodala.

On Thursday night the Golden State Warriors (6-3) won in thrilling fashion, 116-115, over the Oklahoma City Thunder (5-3). Iguodala was already making a name for himself with the Warriors, and anyone he hadn’t already won over is officially on board now. With 2.3 seconds remaining and the team down two, the ball went to Iguodala who nailed a three from the corner to beat the buzzer, sending the crowd into a frenzy, and sending the crowd home happy.

In this one both teams hit the ground sprinting. The first quarter featured few missed shots from either side, as the Thunder started particularly hot, shooting and incredible 68.4% from the field. They were also totally owning the boards, hauling in 16 rebounds compared to Golden State’s four. The Warriors kept the game close, however, thanks to eight Oklahoma City turnovers and some nice shooting of their own. Klay Thompson had an early nine points to lead the way, as Golden State got points from eight different players in the first frame. After 12 minutes, which saw 11 lead changes, the Thunder had a slight 33-32 lead.

The second quarter saw both teams slowly come down to earth a bit, but the same fast paced and close action continued. David Lee started to come alive, chipping in 10 in the quarter. Thompson stayed hot and added seven more to his total. Stephen Curry started to catch fire, contributing six points and four assists. In another extremely evenly played quarter, the teams were dead-locked at 62-62 heading into halftime.

Coming out of the locker rooms the Warriors grabbed the momentum and started to pull away. Curry took over the game for stretches, as Golden State led by as many as 14. Heading into the final frame the Warriors held a 95-86 lead.

At the start of the fourth Golden State seemed to almost be coasting, as they had little trouble maintaining a comfortable lead. With about six minutes remaining, however, the Thunder started to make a run. They got hot and the Warriors got cold. Golden State managed to hold onto their lead despite their struggles and the occasional miscue, up until Russell Westbrook stuck a dagger into the hearts of Warriors fans, hitting a deep three with 2.3 seconds left to give them the two point lead. All was not lost, however, as in stepped Iguodala to save the day. On a quick in bounds pass from Thompson, Iguodala turned and hit the fade-away three-pointer from the corner, over the out-stretched arm of the defender. Nothing but net.

Iguodala finished with 14 points and nine assists. Thompson had team-high 27. Curry just missed a double-double with 22 points and nine assists. Harrison Barnes had a great game off the bench, contributing 16 points in 23 minutes.

In the losing effort Westbrook had a game-high 30 points to go along with nine rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Serge Ibaka had a double-double, posting 27 points and 13 boards. Keving Durant, who was relatively quiet by his standards, had 20 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds.