Oh, oh wait. There’s a game today isn’t there?? You’re in the grocery store, and saw this while scrolling through Twitter while waiting for you number to be called at the meat counter. You thought maybe you’d go see Three Billboards Outside Ebbings Missouri today, but OOOH NO! The game starts in half an hour! You have to get home, right now! The Kings are in Toronto to try to avenge a little 15 point smack around from the Raptors just a week ago and while you were reading this, Doris just blew by your number and you missed your chance at some really nice peppered turkey. Looks like its PB&J’s again next week, friend. Let’s talk Kings basketball!
When: Sunday, December 17th; 12:30pm PST
Where: Air Canada Centre; Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Earth
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration
So the Kings five game win streak against the Raptors is done. Sacramento did end up holding George Hill out of the game for personal reasons and Willie Cauley-Stein was out with a tweaked back. With two of your five best players out, it’s hard to win any game (Just ask the Warriors the last time the Kings came to town). The rematch will feature just about every regular face for the Kings healthy, save for De’Aaron Fox, who may or may not be held out of the game with a not-so-serious bump to the knee. If the Kings want to capitalize on their uptick in talent for Sunday’s contest, they’re going have to do things a bit different than the last time around.
First things first: turnovers. The Kings had themselves more turnovers than assists last Sunday and it wasn’t even particularly close! De’Aaron Fox coughed up the ball seven times. Buddy Hield gave it up six times. Overall, the Kings had 21 turnovers to just 15 assists and that disparity just isn’t going to cut it against a team that averages the second fewest turnovers in the league at less than 14 a contest.
Secondly, the Kings have to get meaningful contributions from Garrett Temple. If Garrett Temple is going to continue to be featured in the starting lineup he’s going to have to do more than flash a fantastic smile and say mature things in his post game interviews. If he has to climb down whatever cup Michael Jordan got sucked into at the beginning of Space Jam, Temple should do it post haste, because something has stolen his talent. Going back just a month from November 15 to now, Temple is shooting just 31.5% from the field. Remember when he busted out of his cold streak against the Bucks and Chicago? You know where he got really hot and shot 5/8 in each of the games? Those have really been his only two games of the last month, and without them, he’s down to 26%. It’s rough. Garrett this month has shot over 40% just five times. And the number of times his shooting percentage has started with a 2 or lower? EIGHT times. In last weeks game, Temple couldn’t even shine on the defensive end against the Raptors after getting into early foul trouble. He’ll need to be able to put the ball in the hole, and play 25 minutes of solid defense this afternoon and there’s only one way that’s guaranteed to snap him out of all of this funk. Lake Arrowhead Country Club: Hole #15, Garrett.
Lastly, the Kings have to find a way to contain DeRozan and Lowry. DeRozan put up 29 points and 9 assists in last weeks efforts, and while Lowry only had 15 points on 4-17 shooting, he also grabbed 12 boards, wild for any point guard not named Russell Westbrook. Cinch those two a little closer to Earth, get Temple back to a productive member of the team and don’t pass the ball to the other team. GOT IT!
Prediction: Temple goes off for 20 points, Z-Bo decides to Willis Reed this game and scores an efficient 17 and George Hill puts in a respectable 15 while commanding the team in limited Fox minutes. Youngster apologists flip their lids as their world burns around them and the Kings win for the fifth time in six tries against the Raptors.
Kings: 107, Raptors: 104