The Sacramento Kings have lost three of their last four games as they limp into the penultimate game of their road trip and whispers can be heard that the sky is falling for some beamlievers. It might just be me, but I can’t think of a better time for the sky to start falling, seeing as how they’re facing off against a group of Raptors! Yes, on their third game in four nights, the Kings have arrived in Toronto to take on a hobbled Raptors team that has also matched Sacramento’s three losses in the last four games. Hey speaking of Kings vs. Raptors, did you see the trailer for that movie coming out next year where Adam Driver takes on a bunch of goddamn dinosaurs???
Let’s talk Kings basketball!
When: Wednesday, December 14th, 4:30 PM PT
Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON, Canada
TV: NBC Sports California
Radio: Sactown Sports 1140
For Your Consideration
Try-try-try-ceratops: The Kings feel a bit beat up right now. It’s fine, teams go through these stretches during a season and removing De’Aaron Fox from the last few games can absolutely put a strain on the team, considering how much he scores and the gravity he creates just by being on the court. This road trip too has been an absolute buzz-saw to run through and for the most part, they’ve felt competitive. Last night’s game was pretty much over at half time, but even then they’re going up against two perennial MVP candidates and a premiere defense in the league. Losses like last night are why its important that the Kings squash the Pacers and Spurs whenever they can. Even at .500, your favorite team is going to lose half of their games and if they take care of the bad teams in the league, they can afford a few losses like this road trip has given them.
Tonight’s game against the Raptors is one of those games that on paper, the Kings should absolutely be expected to take care of. The Raptors are a talented team, there’s no arguing that. With their record just under .500 and with two days to rest on top of it, don’t think I’m trying to imply that a game like this is going to be easy. It won’t be. Nick Nurse alone will make sure of that. This team is a great blend of youth and experience – with reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes, leading scorer Pascal Siakam and floor general Fred VanVleet all healthy, this squad can out hustle and out work the Kings into an early game if they don’t come ready. They’re above average in both offensive and defensive rating, 13th and 11th respectively, they’re the best team in the league in terms of steals, they block the 8th most shots and they hold teams to the fewest field goal attempts in the NBA. They can get it done on that end of the floor. On the offensive side of things, they’re not a great scoring team, 21st in the NBA at a hair over 110 points per game, but they take care of the basketball (by way of 1st in the league in turnovers), draw the 8th most fouls in the league and grab the 5th most offensive rebounds. They don’t shoot well from above or below the arc, 26th and 27th in the league in terms of their shoot percentages, but they can make up for that a bit by shooting the 6th most free throws in the league. These Raptors don’t expect to beat you in some elegant fencing competition, they drag you into a pit of mud and hold you under until you either fight back or die.
Tonight’s contest will be missing the apple of many Kings fans eye, OG Anunoby, who’s missing the game with a bum hip. Pascal Siakam will have room to pirouette to his hearts content – scoring 24.9 points per game gives you that privilege. Scottie Barnes this season has average 13.9 points, 7 boards and 4.6 assists with nearly a block and steal on top it to boot. Guys like VanVleet and former future King Gary Trent Jr. each average 17 a game, who find ways to score while both shooting 33% from deep or worse. Some fun youngings to keep an eye on tonight if they get playing time: Dalano Banton, their 6’9 point guard/small forward who had some really nice moments for the Raptors last season and Christian Koloko, their rookie center from Arizona who has looked incredible for them at times. The kid had an 11 point, 7 rebound, 6 block game against the Bulls in just his 5th start and is absolutely looking like he should have been a first rounder.
Hey, what do you call a dinosaur that never gives up?
KEVIN HUERTER BREAKS OUT OF HIS DAMN SLUMP. THATS THE ONLY THING I’M PREDICTING UNTIL HE’S OUT OF IT. NO SLUMP FOR HUERTER.
Kings: 115, Raptors: 109