Articles | Game Recap

Raptors 144, Kings 123: Sacramento forgets to play defense

Another awful half of basketball for the Kings leads to a loss against the Toronto Raptors.

The Sacramento Kings faced the Toronto Raptors in the second game of a long homestand and were hot to start but fell apart in the second half, losing 144-123.

Toronto came into the game and with a surprising 1-6 record, mainly due to them having the 26th ranked offensive rating, but that is not representative of their talent level.

Sacramento's aggressive and physical defense caused issues for the opposition on that end for a short while, propelling them to an early 22-8 lead that would even be expanded to 40-21.

Old friend Alex Len was abused with regular drop off passes to Richaun Holmes, who finished the game with 10 points and three blocks.

Defense was nowhere to be found in the final 3 minutes of the first quarter (or the rest of the game), as Toronto rallied for a 14-6 run to end the first 46-35.

I am surprised I was able to go this long without mentioning Tyrese Haliburton, who is just a wizard with the ball and continues to leave me in awe night in and night out.

One of those threes would be overturned, as it was ruled the rookie stepped on the line. Lame.

But the refs can't take this one away!

Unsurprisingly, the Kings allowed Toronto to gain some momentum with a few turnovers within a short period throughout the second quarter. Nemanja Bjelica continues to look slower and slower with each passing night, but supplied some needed minutes after Richaun Holmes was charged with four fouls by the half.

The scoreboard read 74-71 at halftime, after Pascal Siakam and the rest of the Raptors, showed signs of life.

Marvin Bagley continued to shoot the ball well from distance and played within the flow of the offense.

Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell made their presence known at the start of the second half as both offenses were allowed to walk into layups and open jumpers.

VanVleet came to realize that Marvin Bagley stood no chance guarding him, which he should not be expected to. The undrafted guard would end the night with a game-high 34 points.

Tyrese Haliburton apparently makes (almost) every three that he throws up. He shot 5/10 from the three and 5/7 from the field for 15 points and eight assists on the night. It does not matter who the roll man is, Haliburton is going to thrive in a pick-and-roll and set up some gorgeous lobs. Sadly, very few other players wearing purple had the energy or visible will to win.

As has become a tradition for Sacramento, role players have career nights against the Kings, and tonight was no different. Chris Boucher finished with a 23 points (two short of his career-high) and tallied 10 rebounds to go along with it.

Malachi Flynn and Paul Watson scored logged the first NBA buckets of their early careers.

103-111 in favor of Toronto at the end of the game. Wait... that's just the end of the third quarter, 40 points for Toronto in the quarter.

With both VanVleet and Powell on the bench, the Kings could not contain Malachi Flynn, Terrence Davis, or really anyone.

The ball-movement that was delightful to watch in the first half was nowhere to be found and the Raptors regularly beat the Kings down the floor for what felt like 20 transition threes in a row.

Toronto broke open a 20+ point advantage and did not look back. The Kings were outscored 123-83 after the early 40-21 lead.

At least Tyrese Haliburton looks like a future star and is making me reconsider his potential ceiling with jaw-dropping off-the-dribble shooting from beyond the arc.

Yes, Toronto shot an outlier 51 percent from three, but Sacramento managed 44 percent from range themselves and that should have been enough to keep them alive.

No team is going to win when they give up 144 points in 48 minutes. No NBA team that is engaged allows 144  points in 48 minutes.

At least they were clear losers early and that allowed some rest minutes for the core rotation players heading into tomorrow night's matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers.

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January 8, 2021 9:47 pm

I’ve decided I’m going to stop caring about the wins and losses this season and just focus on the joy that I get out of watching Haliburton play. If he’s going to continue shooting the way he’s shooting, you can go ahead and start him at SG right now because he’s a much better player than Hield.

If he is going to be a deadeye shooter, than his ceiling is much higher than anyone thought coming into the draft. I can’t believe the Kings drafted someone who’s already so damn good.

January 9, 2021 10:46 am
Reply to  ForeverKANGZ

Alternative perception:

We landed/drafted the 10th pick in 2018, and the 1st pick in 2020!

Last edited 6 months ago by Kosta
January 9, 2021 12:13 am
Reply to  King4life

This is good

January 8, 2021 9:48 pm

Just want to say that Holmes zero rebounds tonight is a lie. His RPG number is a lie! That man boxes out and hooks up his team mates with rebounds like no big I’ve ever seen. I bet you if he cared about that stat, he’d be 10+ easily. That’s all just came to defend Richaun.

oh and Haliburton maybe related to the Curry family.

January 8, 2021 10:24 pm
Reply to  Sir_tajj

Anybody who just looks at Holmes and Bagley’s rebound numbers for the night and think that is the Kings problem, isn’t watching games. Coming into tonight the Kings were in the top 10 as a team in rebounding percentage thus far this season…those two have a lot to do with that.

Also, rumor is it’s really hard to get rebounds when you don’t get stops…

January 8, 2021 11:48 pm
Reply to  Sir_tajj

You damn right!

January 8, 2021 9:51 pm

What a first quarter though!

January 8, 2021 10:14 pm
Reply to  1951

When they went up 40-21 I saw a smile on Harrison Barnes face and thought to myself… now they are going to revert big time to poor ball movement and get lazy on the boards. They are kind of predictable in that way. Teams adjust to what they are doing and their response is to revert to a lot of ISO ball.

January 8, 2021 9:52 pm

Nick Nurse is a helluva good coach and tonite a good reminder of that fact !

January 8, 2021 10:08 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

One of these days, we’ll have a helluva good coach too! (I hope)

January 9, 2021 9:58 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

AND 1!!!!!!

Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
January 9, 2021 8:53 am
Reply to  rockbottom

Yup, what we saw last night was a very good coach making in game and halftime adjustments and then thoroughly outcoached his counterpart. Walton was like a deer in the headlights.

Last edited 6 months ago by Adamsite
January 8, 2021 9:52 pm

Franchise High for Raptors at 144 points
Career High for C. Boucher 23 points
Career High for T. Davis 18 points
Career High for M. Flynn 12 points 

Familiar KANGZ……..

(Correct me, if the above figure is wrong)

January 8, 2021 10:21 pm

Yeah, the narrative that the Kings are bad at developing players is false!

January 8, 2021 9:57 pm

Second chance opportunities was the biggest problem as I saw it. Raptors had 12 offensive rebounds to the Kings 3 and put up 10 more shots. The Kings shouldn’t get dominated on the glass like they did tonight.

January 8, 2021 10:01 pm

Off topic, where is Metu tonight ?
Is he on the bench or not ?

January 8, 2021 10:52 pm

probably got bumped by team bagley

January 8, 2021 10:02 pm

Bjelica just sad to be the last Serb left. Going through the motions and playing out his contract. Will be another name on the long list of forgettable Kings players.

January 8, 2021 10:17 pm
Reply to  Falconsfury

Bjelica is a streaky player. He just needs to let it fly. He seems to be putting the ball on the floor a bit too often.

January 8, 2021 10:07 pm

Another fantastically fun 30 minutes of Haliburton, and the 3rd string got some nice run. And that all I’ve got to say about that.

January 8, 2021 10:16 pm

Toronto couldn’t miss tonight (69.2 eFG%). That happens (unfortunately it happened at GS as well this week). The issue is that the Kings got out hustled tonight. Here’s a little recap:

  • Box outs: Raps 10, Kings 3
  • Loose balls recovered: Raps 6, Kings 1
  • Screen assists: Raps 10, Kings 4
  • OREB%: Raps 30%, Kings 7.5%

Some of that stuff is probably kinda fluky. It seemed like the Kings tried hard for the most part. The rebounding was the only thing that frustrated me since they’ve been so good through the first 8 games.

Also, after watching Chris Boucher launch threes, I think they should call him Chris Trebuchet.

January 8, 2021 10:40 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Raptors played like 1-6 team with playoff aspirations in terms of hustle. On the box outs though, why was Whiteside a DNP? I don’t get that. Was the goal to let Bagley get minutes to try to figure things out? Either way, after Holmes got his 4th PF in second quarter the Kings were getting crushed in the paint. At that point, I think Whiteside should have come in.

January 9, 2021 9:37 am
Reply to  RORDOG

Did you record these stats yourself?

January 9, 2021 11:04 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

No. I’m not a huge nerd. I googled them on a Friday night like a normal person.

January 9, 2021 11:20 am
Reply to  RORDOG

I don’t care if you’re a huge nerd or not.

I was just wondering if there was a place I could go to to track such things. I’m too lazy to do it is the only reason I care.

January 9, 2021 11:25 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

It’s from the individual game box score stats on

January 9, 2021 11:27 am
Reply to  RORDOG

I never use those. Perhaps I should now. Thanks.

January 9, 2021 12:52 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Thanks RORDOG, some good stats there. It’s funny, I rarely go to The Association’s website for NBA info. Who knew. Those four stats you cited are telling. I’ll start checking it out. The “points off screens” stat is really interesting.

January 9, 2021 1:48 pm
Reply to  HoustonJP

I use stats….but they calculate them differently from Basketbal-Reference. If you’re familiar with WAR in baseball and the Baseball-Ref/Fangraphs scales, it’s a similar idea.


Last edited 6 months ago by Kingsguru21
January 8, 2021 10:19 pm

Question : Seeing that I recently moved to Virginia, do I continue to stay up until 12:30 – 1 in the morning? The losses hurt even more when games start at 10pm here.

January 8, 2021 10:22 pm
Reply to  Walt42Wizard

Ooph. That sucks. I’ve always been in reverse, 4pm start time means *cough* leave work early

January 8, 2021 10:42 pm
Reply to  Walt42Wizard


I woke up 4:40 AM to watch the game.

January 9, 2021 11:05 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I’d just stay up til 4:40am

January 9, 2021 2:04 am
Reply to  Walt42Wizard

I thought I had it bad in Texas. You are a true Kings fan. The really late games just kill me around 2 in the afternoon of the next day.

January 9, 2021 7:28 am
Reply to  Walt42Wizard

Some days yes, some days no. You’ll find your rhythm with it.

January 9, 2021 10:01 am
Reply to  Walt42Wizard

Yes. Because I am in VA as well. We’ll stay up and hurt together my friend.

Go Kings…😔

January 8, 2021 10:20 pm

Marvin Bagley stood no chance guarding him, which he should not be expected to.

Truer words were never spoken

January 8, 2021 10:28 pm
Reply to  Marty

Agreed, there were times he got straight torched, but other times he competed well and just got a three nailed in his face. I think this is a hard line for Walton and the team to navigate. He obviously needs reps and time to get better on the switch, but when do you give him those reps without sacrificing competitiveness and trying to win?

Holmes had foul trouble tonight so maybe that was the reason just to roll with Bagley during that third quarter stretch and give him a chance. Not a perfect answer probably…if you still have some faith in Bagley.

Last edited 6 months ago by WizsSox
January 8, 2021 10:24 pm

Haliburton needs to start.

I swear this team is cursed every time you hear oh they haven’t won a game in 7 months and some random bench player hasn’t been shooting well…we are the team where that changes.

January 8, 2021 11:16 pm
Reply to  reydarly

we always say, the benevolent Kings

January 8, 2021 11:40 pm
Reply to  reydarly

It think it benefits the team and Haliburton, to come of the bench for now. He gets his own 2nd team he’s the general of. Also gets minutes with the starters and starter minutes.

January 9, 2021 12:22 am
Reply to  GFunkClassic

I agree. He puts me in a tough spot because he is so good. Coming off the bench is better for him, but you know he will be starting eventually. I’m interested to see what McNair does with the roster now.

January 9, 2021 5:14 am
Reply to  reydarly

And it is Monte’s job to change that narrative again. Hoping we can score more Hali (marys) level contributors or greater in upcoming drafts 🙂

January 8, 2021 10:30 pm

To shoot nearly 57% and get blown out is just awful.

January 8, 2021 11:11 pm

I read your prediction for the final out come..Your are the worst analyst in sports history..You missed the winner and were off the final score by almost 30 points..You are a complete Bozo

January 8, 2021 11:27 pm
Reply to  Deercreekgary1

oh no! Please don’t let bleacher report comments section take over TKH comments. This may be patient zero.

January 8, 2021 11:33 pm
Reply to  Deercreekgary1

This one’s a joke right? This comment has to be sarcastic.

January 8, 2021 11:34 pm
Reply to  Deercreekgary1

comment image

January 9, 2021 11:08 am
Reply to  Deercreekgary1

Deercreekgary1 we have a predictions thread if you want to put your money where your mouth is (My prediction bonafides: I’m currently in 55th place).

January 8, 2021 11:39 pm

Every year there are 5 games where the other team makes every single thing they throw up and you’re screwed. I gotta be honest, I thought the Kings played pretty hard for the most part. Sometimes the other team can’t miss and you tip your cap and move on. I was flipping between the Kings game and the Warriors-Clippers game and the same thing happened to the Clippers. They were up 20 towards the end of the third and then Warriors basically didn’t miss a shot for the rest of the game and they won comfortably. It happens. As Rob likes to say, Next.

And not to beat a dead horse but Tyrese Haliburton isn’t a human. He’s hitting pull-up 3’s off the dribble from weird angles and at this point I assume every single 3 point shot he takes is going in. The wild thing is his defense is still even better than his offense. The kid is nuts and the best rookie Kings player since ever.

January 8, 2021 11:53 pm

Sometimes you lose and sometimes you just get beat. Not a perfect effort from the Kings, but tonight I think they just got beat.

Team loss. Move on.

January 8, 2021 11:55 pm

Weird game. Raptors definitely better than their record. And it was a game they needed to win from their prospective and record. They have championship caliber experience the last few seasons, and a great coach. Gotta take the lick and keep on ticking. Only person that stood out to me as firmly having a good game was Halliburton.

January 9, 2021 12:01 am

“Hey Luke. Um, you guys can’t stop anyone and you have a 7 foot defensive specialist on the bench down here. Think we should try Whiteside out in this one? No? Ok, that’s cool!”

January 9, 2021 12:08 am

“At least Tyrese Haliburton looks like a future star and is making me reconsider his potential ceiling with jaw-dropping off-the-dribble shooting from beyond the arc.”

Like I said the other day, he’s going to be a superstar. He has the potential to be both 1st or or 2nd All NBA and All NBA Defensive team as I’ve said.

As for the Kings, they laid an egg tonight. It happens.

January 9, 2021 10:52 am
Reply to  oshima9

Raise the roof!

Haliburton’s ceiling is higher than we had thought!
comment image

Last edited 6 months ago by Kosta
January 9, 2021 12:47 am

I’ll just throw this out because Halliburton’s play has me thinking we actually might have a legitimate shot at a play-in game and making the playoffs would be fun, but we still definitely need more lottery talent. Fox and Haliburton is a good place to start but I do kind of hope the front office sees the bigger picture and moves Barnes ASAP. He’s playing great on offense this season and his assist rate is significantly higher than at any point in his career. Seems like a perfect opportunity to move that contract. As for Buddy… he’s gotta start hitting shots at some point right? Right now his contract looks awful. I don’t understand what happened to his shooting. If they can get anything for him I’d move him.

January 9, 2021 4:03 am

I love the Sacramento Kings for whatever reason. But this team won’t do more than chase the 8th seed. They really must stay the course and continue gathering young talent. Whether they were lucky or good in the 2020 draft, or both, gives me hope that this new regime can crush the 2021 draft as well. Then I think we will really have something.

January 9, 2021 8:00 am

Keep HB get rid of Hield.

January 9, 2021 3:57 am

Captain obvious here, but you don’t win when the opponent outshoots AND outboards you. It’s just not possible to win that way.

January 9, 2021 6:47 am

No defense, no rebounds (44>26), no win.

Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
January 9, 2021 9:07 am

Although I’m no fan of him, I’m quite a bit surprised Whiteside didn’t get minutes. The Kings couldn’t grab a rebound and were allowing the Raptors to practice layups. Those are the very 2 areas Whiteside could have had an impact.

Is there some other reason Whiteside didn’t play that I’m not aware of?

January 9, 2021 9:17 am

One thing I noticed that was different from the Bulls game is the Raptors adjusted to the pick and roll very well, and it kind of took some of Hali’s weapons away. After they started clamping down, the ball movement stopped and hero ball started up.

This is one of the reasons I’m so torn on Walton this year. When a better coach than him makes adjustments, it’s like he has no idea what to do about it. I’d love to play chess with the man for money. All you’d have to do is make him think he’s winning and then it’s check mate.

How he let Holmes stay in with 3 fouls is beyond me. He is too important to the defense to be limited for an entire half. Just bonkers decision making all around.

That first quarter was some of the most beautiful basketball I think I’ve seen the Kings play. They need to bottle that and consume liberally for 4 quarters.

January 9, 2021 9:31 am

Walton gotta go! It doesnt seem like there have been any changes in defensive schemes/ gameplans even though theyre ranked last or next to last in every defensive category… When van vleet is hitting 3 after 3 in bagleys face why not just have hali stay on him? It doesnt even seem like they try to make an effort most possessions… This is probably the worst defensive team ive ever seen, and thats says alot watching the kings my whole life… To me, thats on coaching. Even if you dont have the personnel you can create schemes to slow down players when they start to get lit like van vleet last night. Although they do have the personnel that just makes it that much more frustrating…. Get rid of walton now and promote gentry before its too late!

January 9, 2021 10:32 am
Reply to  916king916

Gentry’s history of Defense is quite possibly worse ! He has been a head coach for 5 teams and a losing record ! So a no from me on this !

January 9, 2021 6:58 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

Im not saying gentry is the answer. I just KNOW walton aint

January 9, 2021 11:22 am
Reply to  916king916

keep walton so we keep losing games this year. Chase a high lottery pick, and can walton after the season ends.

January 9, 2021 9:55 am

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