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Kings vs. Raptors Preview: A return to The Six, and hopefully the win column

Kings basketball is back in Canada for the first time in over two years.

Toronto Raptors v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings will tip-off against the Toronto Raptors from Scotiabank Arena for the first time in 769 days. Nov. 6, 2019 was the last time the Kings visited the Raptors in The Six. The Raptors played their home games in Tampa Bay, Florida for the entirety of the 2020-21 season in direct response Canada’s regulations at the height of the pandemic.

The Kings will be looking to end a two-game losing slide and head back home with a victory in what has been a highly disappointing road trip. Defensive intensity, as well as in-game adjustments from Alvin Gentry, are going to be vital in the Kings seeing any success against yet another thinned-out team.

Toronto will be missing five players, including OG Anunoby and Precious Achiuwa, both of whom were big contributors in the Nov. 19 blowout at Golden 1 Center. Goran Dragic remains without the team indefinitely, but Toronto will still have seasoned scorers in Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam.

The Raptors (and Raptors 905 because let’s face it, they’ll play) boast an incredibly dangerous bench unit who already have the Kings’ number. Alvin Gentry’s rotations will absolutely need to capitalize on offense where big name are missing.

Sacramento will remain without Richaun Holmes, who is recovering from a procedure on his right eye. Although Holmes brings an incredible push on both ends of the floor and is undoubtedly the heart and soul of this squad, the Kings have an entirely healthy roster in stark contrast with many teams in the league right now.

Last time these teams faced off the keys to victory remained the same: string together four strong quarters of basketball. Getting out to a hot start and pushing the pace does Sacramento well, as in games where they fall behind in the first quarter it tends to set the tone for effort thereafter.

How to Watch/Listen: NBC Sports California, Sports 1140 KHTK

Opposing Perspective: Raptors HQ

Spread: Raptors -4.5

Moneyline: Raptors -190, Kings +160

SAC injuries/absences: Richaun Holmes - Out (Eye)

TOR injuries/absences: Precious Achiuwa - Out (Health and Safety Protocols), OG Anunoby - Out (Hip), Khem Birch - Out (Knee), David Johnson - Out (Calf), Goran Dragic - Out (Not With Team)