The Kings got off to a nice defensive start holding the Raptors scoreless for the first three minutes of the game. Hot 3-point shooting carried the Kings’ offense for the first 5 or so minutes, but you knew the Raptors were going to go on a run. That’s exactly what they did, and it wasn’t Pascal Siakam or Kyle Lowry doing the damage. Yet.
OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet combined for 12 of the Raptors’ first 16 points before the rest of the defending champions joined the party. The Kings’ defensive intensity slipped considerably over the course of the quarter as the Raptors passed the ball around long enough to cause the Kings defense to over-rotate and under-rotate possession after possession. The Sacramento Kings bench provided nothing on offense while the Raptors continued to roll. Kings down 23-36 after 1.
I can’t say the bench defense was any better to start the 2nd quarter, but their offense finally started producing some open looks. The problem with said open looks is that a majority of them didn’t go in the basket, which is essential to win a basketball game.
Whatever is going on with Bogdan Bogdanovic right now is depressing to the point where I don’t even want to talk about it. I’ll just say his offense wasn’t good during this stretch.
Just as I typed that, Bogi went on a much-needed 5-0 run that included a tough contested 3 from the corner and a nice steal for an open layup. I’m writing this recap running diary style and don’t believe in editing so I’m leaving this all in the recap. In fact, this sentence right here is an editing test for Greg or Akis. Let’s see if they delete it. (Editors note: we saw it) Ok, back to the game.
De’Aaron Fox left the game after committing his 3rd foul and our old pal Yogi Ferrell saw his first extended meaningful minutes of the season. He didn’t do a lot individually, but the Kings actually found some rhythm to close the quarter. Bogdanovic started playing a little bit better, and Harrison Barnes was spectacular with 15 points on 5-8 shooting in the first half. The Raptors took a manageable 66-58 lead into the dreaded 3rd quarter. How would the Kings perform? Stay tuned to the next paragraph to find out.
We’re 3 minutes into the 3rd quarter, and so far, so good. The Kings are getting a lot of great looks from 3, but aren’t hitting enough of them. Their defense is holding up. For now.
This is not your typical bad 3rd quarter for the Kings. The Raptors are turning the ball over and playing fairly sloppy overall, but the Kings just cannot take advantage of it. The Raptors are starting to pull away for no reason other than the Kings can’t put together a run of their own. This feels winnable for the good guys if they could string together some consistent offense.
The Kings were able to cobble together just enough offense to win the 3rd quarter by a single point. Raptors 95, Kings 88 heading into the 4th.
We’ve got a little Cory Joseph revenge game brewing after a flurry of buckets to open the 4th. Kings down just 4 with 8 minutes to go.
Well, this game got weird during the final few minutes. The Kings made several mini runs late in the 4th, but didn’t have enough time on the clock to close the gap. I can’t help but feel like the Kings missed an opportunity to steal a tough game on the road here, but if you’re into moral victories, I guess you can call this one of those. The Kings played hard and fought till the end, but they didn’t get enough key stops when they needed to, and their offensive execution could have been much better, especially with how frequently the Raptors were turning the ball over.
De’Aaron Fox needs to be better. I’m not blaming him for the loss tonight, necessarily. The Raptors are a better team. The Kings were supposed to lose. I get it.
With that being said, Fox is the best player on this team, and when he isn’t playing well, the Kings are going to have a real difficult time winning games, particularly games on the road against good teams. The rebounds and assists are great, but the timely clutch offense wasn’t there, and the 7-16 shooting with 7 turnovers isn’t going to cut it.
The Kings are 2-6. Not great.
Next up, the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.