The Sacramento Kings traveled north of the border on Tuesday night as they continued their road trip through part of the Eastern Conference. It was the second matchup of the year against the Toronto Raptors, as they dropped a home game to them 105-114 earlier in the season.
Kawhi Leonard led both teams in scoring with 25 points when they met back in November, but the Raptors star was on the shelf for this one. He has received regular rest throughout the season. Second year forward OG Anunoby also missed the game for personal reasons.
The Kings chose to rest De’Aaron Fox, Nemanja Bjelica, and Iman Shumpert on their side of things. The accelerated pace that Sacramento has played at this season is likely a significant factor in that decision. None of the three are dealing with injuries.
The Kings started Yogi Ferrell, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Marvin Bagley, and Willie Cauley-Stein, while the Raptors went with Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Pascal Siakam, and Serge Ibaka. Tonight’s game was the first career start for the number two overall pick, Marvin Bagley.
It was a quick and explosive start in Toronto, as both teams sprinted up and down the court and traded long distance looks. 21 of the first 32 points came off threes, as the teams combined to go 7-of-7 from the arc in the early goings.
Harry Giles was deployed as the first sub for Sacramento, and helped spark a nine point run which gave the Kings a 27-22 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter. Giles looked smooth as he connected on his first two shots.
Frank Mason III and Justin Jackson came in to close the quarter, and while these young-look Kings found themselves in a little foul trouble, they turned in a strong early showing and finished the quarter up 34 to 29.
The game slowed down in the second quarter, along with Sacramento’s offense. The Raptors took back a modest lead and held it through halftime, heading to the locker room up 56 to 60. Buddy was the leading scorer in the first half for the Kings with 13 points. Bagley led the team in rebounds with 5, and Bogdanovic posted a high of 6 assists.
The Kings continued to struggle early in the second, particularly with defending the long ball. The Raptors had connected on 11 threes at a 41% clip by the midway point in the third quarter. Some flashy defensive plays from Bagley and Giles made up for a lackluster overall performance. The Kings got close at times, but were never able to get back to even with Toronto.
The Raptors played great team basketball and distributed the scoring duties beautifully, playing for the open shot. Six players hit double digits by the eight minute mark in fourth quarter: VanVleet, Siakam, Ibaka, Lowry, CJ Miles, and Norman Powell.
The Raptors won the battle again in the third quarter, and it became clear that they would win the war. A major mistake from Ben McLemore led to three free throws from a half court heave at the buzzer. Delon Wright hit two of the three and made it a double digit lead heading to the fourth, 78-88.
It only got worse from there. Perhaps the consolation for the Kings came in the form of some nice statistical nights for Marvin Bagley and Bogdan Bogdanovic. The rookie big man showed off his enormous potential in his first career start, racking up 22 points and 11 boards. Bogi had an impressively well rounded night and nearly recorded his first triple-double. He had 16, 9, and 8 to go with his 3 steals.
Sacramento continues their road trip on Friday in Memphis. Tune in at 5:00 pm PST to see if the Kings can turn it around.