Kings face huge test against Raptors hot G DeRozan
TORONTO — The Sacramento Kings are the latest team to try to hold Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan under 30 points.
If they do on Sunday at Air Canada Centre, they will be the first team to do so this season. DeRozan has scored 30 or more points in the Raptors' first five games of the season.
He scored 34 points in a 96-87 win over the Miami Heat Friday to become the first player to score 30 or more points in five straight games to open a season since Michael Jordan Nov. 1-11, 1986.
Jordan extended his streak to six games and DeRozan will be trying to do the same on Sunday.
“Yeah, I heard it, I don't believe it,” DeRozan said. “It's tough, it's not easy. Everything that goes into it, it's just not what you do on the court, it's how you take care of yourself physically, mentally, everything. There are things off the court that people don't get a chance to see that are just as important.”
Two NBA players scored 30 or more points in five straight games last season. Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors (Feb. 22-March 3) and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers (Feb. 8-23).
“He's mine. He's ours. He belongs to the Raptors,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said of DeRozan's torrid start. “He's been great. He's been a great leader with his approach, being very professional.”
DeRozan surpassed the previous club record of four straight games with 30 or more points set in 2005 by Mike James.
The Raptors (4-1) have won three in a row since losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in their second game of the season.
They face the struggling Kings (2-5), who lost Saturday night to the Milwaukee Bucks, 117-91.
The Kings have lost the first four games of a five-game trip that ends in Toronto. The Kings are dealing with injuries to forwards Rudy Gay (rib cartilage strain) and Anthony Tolliver (knee).
Omri Casspi replaced Gay — who is second on the Kings in scoring with 22.5 points per game — in the starting lineup Saturday and had six points and six rebounds.
The Kings are trying to improve defensively.
“We have to do a better job individually taking on the challenge of beating the guy in front of us,” coach Dave Joerger told the Sacramento Bee. “That has not been happening for us. … Secondly, it's where is our second line of help. Our third line of help is at the rim. There have been too many having-to-help situations by our bigs. We end up giving up something, and one thing leads to the next.”
Joerger said he could adjust his starting lineup based on the opponent.
“Either we size down or size up a little bit,” Joerger said. “It gives our other guys an opportunity to step up and have a chance. Guys have been working hard and waiting for their opportunities. It's a good chance for those guys as well.”
Guard Garrett Temple led Sacramento with 19 points on Saturday, going 5-for-6 in 3-point attempts. DeMarcus Cousins scored 15 points, eight in the first quarter.