The Toronto Raptors drop to 26-23, after taking a tough loss to the Sacramento Kings Wednesday night by a score of 109-101. However, that score does not tell the story by any means.
This game was the 4th of their 5 game Western road swing, with the final game at the Staples Centre against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Kings came out with much better energy defensively, offensively, and especially on the glass. The Raps were down by 22 points this game, but a late shooting barrage by Steve Novak (12 points, 3/6 from outside) allowed the team to try and get back into it. The Raptors’ All-Star DeMar DeRozan had a tough shooting night, scoring 18 on 5/17 shooting, and 3 turnovers. His ex running-mate Rudy Gay finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
The fouls discrepancy was abnormal, with the Kings committing only 23 fouls, compared to the Raptors’ 35. Following the fouls, the free-throw shooting was another situation that showed some referee bias, with the Raptors attempting only 24 free-throws, in comparison to the Kings unbelievable 51 attempts.
In addition to the multiple bad whistles, Kyle Lowry was charged with an offensive foul – referees said Lowry kicked his leg out. This was far from the case – after the play he was clearly run over by Ben McLemore. As a result, Lowry made a monstrous reaction, which got him his second technical foul of the game; thus forcing him to leave the game. If Lowry hits the shot, the Raps are down 102-105. If he hits plus the foul (the correct call), this is a 2 point game with the made free throw.
The Raps were drowned by a bad whistle, however, they can’t dig such a deep hole for them to try and get out of. Too little too late seems to have become the story recently, despite being one of the better teams in the 4th quarter.
Awful game offensively. The Raptors never established an inside game early; too many outside jump-shots dug this team into a large hole to start the game. As a result, the Raptors weren’t able to get to the free-throw line (arguable that referees had a lot to do with it), only attempting 24 shots at the charity stripe. 17 turnovers also allowed the Kings to get easy transition baskets, and while the team was able to hand out 25 assists, they shot a poor 43% from the field; again, most of which were outside jumpers or long twos. Lowry finished with 21 points and 8 assists.
The Raptor defense ended up being solid at the end of the game, but the first half was a different story. They allowed the Kings to get into the paint with ease, and did not close out shooters, which burned them in early. But, things changed in the second half, which gave them a pinch of a fighting chance to get back into the game. As a result, the Raptors forced the Kings to shoot 40% from the field, 33% from the perimeter, stole the ball 7 times, blocked 6 shots, and forced 10 turnovers. However, too little too late for the defense to win them the game.
Not much to say, other than the Raptors lost because of poor timely rebounding, and pursuit of the ball on the glass. The Rapts did win the rebounding battle overall, 44-41, but again, the main story (or, the bad story), was in the first half, where the Raptors gave up second chance point, after second chance point. Not much help came from Amir Johnson, Chuck Hayes, or Patrick Patterson on the glass, with them combining only for 12 rebounds.
Game Ball: DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins was a monster, and a massive load to deal with – literally. He finished the game with 25 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. His pursuit of the offensive glass (5 offensive rebounds), and his ability to dominate the paint absolutely traumatized the Raptors’ defense. If there were 15 spots, rather than 12 on the Western Conference All-Star team, he’d definitely be deserving a spot.