We are officially over the 15-game mark and those "it's still early" and "small sample size" arguments are starting to lose their vigor. The Kings can no longer lean on these early crutches and must now start standing on two legs to prove what kind of team they will be moving forward. Tonight's matchup against the Raptors was a good place to start, as both teams have struggled to find a consistent identity to start the season. A win for the Kings would mean a relieving step in the right direction, while a loss would signify yet another step towards acceptance that this year is no different than the last 15. Relief versus defeating disappointment - really gets you amped for some Kings basketball, right? Let's see how they did:
Outcome: Kings lose, 108-89
Sacramento Kings: 89 pts, 38.1% fg, 24.3% 3pt, 64.0% ft, 15 ast, 39 reb, 13 to
Toronto Raptors: 108 pts, 45.8% fg, 38.7% 3 pt, 83.3% ft, 20 ast, 53 reb, 15 to
I guess I hadn't considered a third possibility besides a win or a loss: a humiliation. I'm not sure what this exactly means for the Kings, Luke Walton's job, or my sanity, but I know it ain't good any of them.
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
- The First 12 Minutes: The Kings came out with a high level of intensity on defense, forcing five turnovers from the Raptors in the first quarter and converting them into easy points. The first score for the Kings came from a Tyrese Haliburton steal and emphatic slam in the open court and it felt like the boys might have taken Tristan Thompson's scolding to heart and were ready to play. Harrison Barnes had a strong start, scoring 10 points in the first quarter and going a perfect 8-8 from the line. After 12 minutes of play, the Kings trailed by just three points and I was foolish enough to hope that they could carry this over through the next three quarters.
- The Last 36 Minutes: That hope I mentioned was quickly squandered as the Raptors took complete control of the game about two minutes into the second quarter. Gary Trent Jr. lit the Kings up for 15 points in the second quarter, while Pascal Siakam hit about 1,000 step back elbow jumpers. The Kings showed no recognition of the fact that these two went on multiple heaters and instead remained in single coverage on both for the entirety of the game and let them combine for 55 points. On the offensive end, we saw the same old story. After relying on Harrison Barnes to bail them out on every possession stopped working, the Kings failed to find any consistent source of offense. We saw the same one-dimensional strategies from the Kings and the Raptors were able to stunt each one. If the Kings tried to go inside, the Raptors clogged the paint and hounded the rim. If the Kings passed around the perimeter and chucked up 3s, the Raptors were there in passing lanes and closeouts. There were no inside-out actions or multi-layered movements. The Kings kept it simple and the Raptors had an easy night on defense.
- My Soul: I am dead inside.
The King of Kings
The bar is low, man. Tonight's King of Kings goes to Harrison Barnes for hitting all eight of his free throw attempts tonight. Woohoo.
Saturday, November 20th vs. Utah Jazz - 7:00 P.M. (PT)