The last time the Kings played the Raptors, Sacramento built a 19-point lead, only to see Toronto come all the way back in the first, and then some.
The Kings were in danger of following a very similar script three weeks later. The Kings were up 18 in the third quarter, and yet with one minute remaining, a Yuta Watanabe floater had the Raptors within one.
Cue the Rookie of the Year.
Hassan Whiteside had gotten the ball with a clear runway to the hoop, but he missed the dunk. Fortunately, he got the offensive rebound and kicked the ball out to Tyrese Haliburton, who put the Kings up four and secured the win.
The rookie notched the first double-double of his young career, scoring 10 points and adding 11 assists to help lead Sacramento to a 126-124 victory over Toronto. It’s the team’s third consecutive win — and their second in the checkered jerseys in two tries.
Haliburton’s late heroics wouldn’t have been possible without another excellent outing from Harrison Barnes, who carried the mantle early. Barnes had 13 points on 4-of-4 shooting in the first quarter, including three 3-pointers. He finished with 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting, adding seven rebounds and five assists.
Marvin Bagley III had a nice start as well on both ends of the floor; he scored inside (powering through in the post) and outside (corner three) while defending Pascal Siakam well.
Once the starters gave way to the second unit, Hassan Whiteside picked up the slack on the offensive end. The Raptors go pretty small when Aron Baynes isn’t playing, and Whiteside was able to bully the combination of Chris Boucher and Yuta Watanabe in the middle. The Kings center had 16 points and nine rebounds in 17 minutes.
The Kings stayed pretty much in control up until the final minute of the third quarter, when the Raptors ended the period with a five-point run. Toronto continued to keep the pressure up in the fourth quarter and gave the Kings fits despite Sacramento being in control for most of the game.
It was a team effort for the Kings, as all of their starters made big plays down the stretch, culminating in Haliburton’s shot. There’s no time to celebrate, though: Miami awaits tomorrow.