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Kings 102-Raptors 99: Defense Wins the Day

The Kings escape the KANGZ.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Toronto Raptors Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that’s certainly a way to win a basketball game! In a controversial ending, the Kings escaped with a 102-99 victory over the Toronto Raptors. The final 90 seconds certainly got the blood pumping! After an emphatic Rudy Gay dunk put Sacramento up 102-97 with just over a minute and a half to play, the Kings did their best to morph into the KANGZ and give the game away. With 27 seconds remaining, Darren Collison fit in his bone-headed play of the game and fouled Kyle Lowry on a three point attempt. Thankfully, the Raptors star point guard missed one of the three free throws which put the Kings in possession of the ball with 27 seconds remaining and a three point lead. Sacramento used up the 24 seconds with a shot clock violation and gave the Raptors the ball back with 2.4 seconds on the clock. Dave Joerger decided to ignore all of basketball wisdom and instead of fouling, he decided to let Toronto try to tie the game. Unfortunately, Terrence Ross hit a buzzer-beating three! Fortunately, the refs missed Boogie tipping the ball to start the play, and the shot was ruled no good! KINGS WIN!!!!! DANCE PARTY!

For the first time in more than two weeks of losing, Dave Joerger switched up the starting lineup. Darren Collison started at shooting guard for Arron Afflalo and Matt Barnes started at power forward, shifting Boogie to center. The new rotation clearly worked as the Kings jumped out to a 36-28 first quarter advantage while shooting 58% (11/19) from the field and 50% (3/6) from 3 point range. Unfortunately, the Raptors were almost as hot, shooting 10/15 overall.

The second quarter started off about as poorly as you would expect with Lawson, McLemore, Affallo, Tolliver and Koufos in the game. Coach has spoken several times to the fact that he can’t afford to have Gay and Cousins off of the floor at the same time and tonight simply affirmed the point. The Raptors took advantage of the offensively non-offensive lineup and used a 13-4 run to take the lead. That lead balooned to 10 points twice during the quarter, but Sacramento rode a hot hand from Arron Afflalo to close the gap to five by halftime.

After struggling to contain the Raptors’ offense in the first half, the Kings’ defense clamped down in the third, holding Toronto to a measly 18 points. Kosta anchored the effort as he recorded two blocks and a steal in seven minutes during the run. DeMarcus Cousins facilitated the offense throughout the quarter as he picked up three assists.

The fourth quarter was a back and fourth affair with both teams claiming the lead at different times. Tough defense was once again on display as the Kings held the Raptors to another 18 point quarter. Garrett Temple, Rudy Gay, and Darren Collison did a wonderful job hounding the Toronto guards as well as preventing lane penetration. The perimeter defense also allowed Cousins to stay out of foul trouble as he didn’t pick up a foul in the entire second half.

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Player of the Game:

Rudy Gay - 23 points (9/13 FG) 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks

Game Notes:

  • Willie Cauley-Stein still looks like a lost puppy on both ends of the court. There was a three play sequence in which he hedged too far on Kyle Lowry guarding the pick and roll which resulted in 6-0 Raptors run. The Kings young big fouled three times in four minutes of play.
  • Call me crazy, but I would love to see Garrett Temple starting at shooting guard for the Kings. His combination of shooting, defense, and steady, level-headed play would be a boon for the team. Bringing Lawson and Afflalo off of the bench would still create the instant offense you want coming into the game.
  • Omri Casspi is officially out of the rotation. Tonight was his 5th DNP-CD in the past six games. He certainly can provide some value on the court, so hopefully the Kings find a spot in the rotation for him or send him somewhere that he can produce.
  • The Kings are THE DeMar DeRozan stopper. The Raptors’ shooting guard walked into the game averaging a league-leading 33 points per game and Sacramento held him to 12 points on 3/15 shooting. Rudy Gay had a large hand in his struggles as he used his length and athleticism to bother him all game long.
  • This is the second game in a row in which the Kings have held an opponent to less than 20 points in the fourth quarter.