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Raptors 118, Kings 113: Heartbreaker on a back-to-back

One of the East's best came into town in a close game

Kimani Okearah

The first quarter started the way you would expect for the Kings on a SEGABABA. However, they utilized a strong ending to the quarter to have a strong game on both ends of the floor the rest of the way. There was a moment in the third where the Raptors could’ve ran away with it, but the Kings came back again. It went down to the wire in the fourth, but the Raptors prevailed.

Quarterly Recaps

Injury notes: Richaun Holmes (shoulder) is AVAILABLE. Marvin Bagley (foot) is OUT. Fred VanVleet is OUT and Marc Gasol is AVAILABLE.

Harry Giles found a cutting Nemanja Bjelica for an easy basket to start the game. Bogdan Bogdanovic missed his first two three point attempts and they were good looks as well. The Kings started 0-5 from three and couldn't attack the rim against a suffocating Toronto defense. The length and switch ability on Toronto's defense caused multiple turnovers for the Kings and they ran down the floor for easy transition buckets. Buddy Hield came in and made a three to stop the drought but the Kings were down 20-9. The bench core of Hield, Kent Bazemore and Richaun Holmes brought some much needed energy. Hield made another three, the defensive intensity picked up and the Kings tied the game at 22 to end the first quarter.

In a weird turn of events, it was Sacramento's defense that didn't allow the Raptors to enter the paint and Alex Len's physicality played a large role in that. The Kings on offense now attacked the rim and Len bullied down low. Sacramento held a lead for most of the quarter once they gained it, but Toronto caught fire from three that brought them back in it and eventually the deep ball gave them the halftime lead of 51-50. Norman Powell's 14 points led the Raptors while Hield and Len each contributed 11 off the bench. Bjelica scored 10 and grabbed four rebounds.

The third quarter began pretty similarly to the first one. Sacramento couldn’t penetrate the paint again and turned it over that led to transition baskets the other way. The Raptors took a 66-56 lead with around eight minutes left. Harrison Barnes and Bazemore drilled back-to-back threes that cut the lead to five. Toronto's lead stayed at five for some time, until two free throws for Sacramento had them within tying distance. Hield had two looks at a three to tie, but they didn't fall and Gasol hit one the other way in a six-point six. The Raptors led 78-74 after three with Powell leading the way with 21 points. Bazemore led the Kings with 13, but not a lot of production from the starters.

Sacramento came back and took a 82-79 lead early in the fourth. Len and Bjelica hosted a block party and Bazemore threw down a massive one-handed hammer to get the stadium ecstatic. But following a timeout, Kyle Lowry took over with a three and getting to the rim for tough layups that gave Toronto a lead again. Lowry, playing with five fouls, and Powell continued to hit threes to maintain a lead. A basket from the quiet Bogdan Bogdanovic tied the game at 94. Both teams exchanged tough three after tough three and went down to the wire with Pascal Siakam coming alive. Bjelica had the final shot to tie the game but it was a wild attempt and a point of discussion for why was Buddy not on the court.

Notable Players

De’Aaron Fox erupted in the fourth quarter when he was needed the most. Fox finished with 28 points and made all 10 of his free throws. He added four assists and four rebounds.

Kent Bazemore’s energy off the bench continues to be immense. Baze ended the game with 15 points, six rebounds and one assist on 6-11 shooting.

Nemanja Bjelica played with tons of hustle on both ends of the floor and he usually lacks that on defense. Bjelica finished with a double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and a block.

Alex Len gives it his all no matter how many minutes he plays. Tonight, he played just 15 minutes but scored 15 points, grabbed seven rebounds, two blocks and an assist on 6-9 shooting.

Notable Stats

The three ball wasn’t there the same way it was against Portland for the Kings. They were 8-31 (26.7%) from three to Toronto’s 19-48 (39.6%).

The Kings won the rebound battle 50-36 but the Raptors had more assists at 27-24.

Sacramento’s bench outscored Toronto’s 51-7.

Toronto scored 23 fast break points to the Kings’ 17.

Next Game

The Kings host the New Orleans Pelicans this Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. PST on ESPN. This will have a good amount of attention in regards to the playoff chase.