I think it is pretty safe to say that this has been a brutal road trip. After a solid first stretch of games, the Sacramento Kings seemed to do everything they could to kill their fans’ confidence. But, as we all know, the Kings care not about your logic and your narrative, and they beat perhaps the toughest team on the road trip in the final game on the second night of the back-to-back.
After a slow first quarter where the Kings appeared to be facing the same problems against the Toronto Raptors that they faced against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic. After falling down early, the bench crew came in and helped bring the game back to a competitive level. Despite DeMarcus Cousins being held without a field goal against whoever those made up players that the Raptors had at the center position for a majority of the first half, he eventually found his groove and ended up making some key buckets down the stretch. Same goes for Rudy, who made some key plays, himself. Garrett Temple and Matt Barnes each continued to impress off the bench, with each immediately letting their presence be known off the bench. Ty Lawson may not have had a great shooting night, but his play-making was on point. He had 11 assists to only one turnover.
On the Raptors end, the Raptors failed to get Kyle Lowry or Demar DeRozan going. For the first time this season DeRozan scored under 30 points (he came into the game averaging 35 ppg). Lowry struggled to even hit the rim for much of the night; even going as far as launching a layup over the top of the backboard in a moment that is certain to end up on Shaqtin’ a Fool.
The Kings defense was definitely looking better, though the Raptors certainly helped the cause. DeMarcus did a great job protecting the rim, and the Kings were even able to get some key stops in crunch time! I checked with my people and that is a perfectly legal strategy.
Overall, the road trip was something of a disaster, but on this glorious night, the Kings were at least able to end it on a high note. Hopefully they can bring a similar effort on Monday when they play Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans.
-Both Ben McLemore and Willie Cauley-Stein got DNP- Coach’s Decisions. While I am not surprised about WCS’s inclusion there, Ben’s was a little surprising. I chalk it up to Joerger trying different combinations of guys, and would be surprised if we do not see both next game.
-Jordan Farmar looked good in 10 minutes, but I would be surprised if we see him in the near future. Something tells me he may be in and out of the Kings’ roster all season, though.
-The latest episode of StR After Dark is up on our Facebook page. Join Tim Maxwell and I as we discuss the game (NOTE: The awkward intros will be gone. I will be hosting exclusively via Facebook Live starting next game until further notice)