The Sacramento Kings have been awful on the road this year so far, sporting a 2-9 record (and that doesn't include the Mexico City "home" loss). They wasted a good opportunity against perhaps their easiest opponent of the trip on Friday, and now have to face perhaps the best of the trip in the Toronto Raptors. The Kings surprised the Raptors earlier this season, but winning on the road is a whole different matter.. Today's action tips off at 3:00 pm on CSN California and on KHTK 1140.
1. Can the Kings dominate the interior? The Raptors are a perimeter oriented team, even moreso with Jonas Valanciunas out. The Raptors will rely on Bismak Biyombo and Patrick Patterson to body up DeMarcus Cousins, and both those matchups should be pretty favorable for the Kings. I'd like to see the Kings get aggressive with attacking the basket early.
2. Can the Kings keep the Raptors off the line? Lowry and DeRozan form one of the best backcourts in the NBA and they both possess the ability to score inside and out. However, they both also excel at getting to the line, where the Raptors are first in the NBA in terms of makes (and third in attempts).
3. Can the Kings win the battle of the boards? Perhaps the biggest reason for the Kings' loss to the Timberwolves was the fact that they were outrebounded by 19. The Raptors are a good but not great rebounding team, and with Valanciunas out that should give the Kings the advantage.
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
Rajon Rondo vs. Kyle Lowry
There's no question Kyle Lowry is one of the best Point Guards in the NBA right now and his combination of speed, strength and scoring ability will provide a difficult matchup for Rajon Rondo on both ends of the floor. It's incredibly important to not let Lowry get going early, and to make life as difficult as possible for him, otherwise it could be a long night for the Kings.
Raptors 114, Kings 101. I just don't see the Kings going into Toronto and outscoring the Raptors on their home floor.