Kings host Raptors in battle of hot teams
The Raptors will be seeking to put the finishing touches on a 4-0 Western swing after having dispatched of Phoenix, the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah by an average of 12.0 points.
In running their record to 10-1, they have recorded their last two wins without star guard Kawhi Leonard, out with a sore right ankle. He is expected to be a game-time decision at Sacramento.
OG Anunoby has started both games in Leonard’s spot. He contributed 17 points to Monday’s 124-111 win at Utah.
Leonard’s backcourt mate, Kyle Lowry, has helped take up the slack in the victories over the Lakers and Jazz, recording a double-double in each, with 21 points and 15 assists in Los Angeles and 17 points and 11 assists in Salt Lake City.
Playing the second night of a back-to-back without its top player, the Raptors managed to overcome a 41-14 discrepancy in free throws to out-finish the Jazz.
“I was really proud of the way we held our composure,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse told reporters after the game. “I think at one point it was 21-1 in free throws. We were complaining a little early on and then we just stopped complaining and started playing. That was really impressive by us.”
If Leonard can’t go Wednesday, it would be a huge break for the Kings. As a member of the San Antonio Spurs, Leonard went 17-2 in games against the Kings, including 11-1 at Sacramento.
He has scored in double figures 11 straight times against the Kings.
Before acquiring Leonard from the Spurs over the summer, the Raptors swept the season series from the Kings last year. Lowry contributed a 15-point, 12-rebound double-double to a 102-87 win at Sacramento last December.
The Kings averaged just 90.0 points in their two losses to Toronto last season. But they have been scoring at a much higher clip this year, running up at least 107 points in nine of their 10 outings.
Sacramento averaged 123.0 points during a four-game winning streak that ended Sunday in a loss at Milwaukee.
De’Aaron Fox recorded a triple-double during the run with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists in a win at Atlanta. He averaged 24.0 points during the winning streak.
Buddy Hield had 22 or more points in all four games, averaging 24.3.
“We’re still extremely happy with how we played on this road trip,” Kings forward Justin Jackson proclaimed after the loss at Milwaukee. “I think we go back (to Sacramento) with our heads high and extremely happy with how we’ve been playing.”
The Kings, now 5-4, haven’t had a home game since beating Washington 116-112 on Oct. 26.
The Raptors will be seeing the Kings for the first time since Sacramento made Marvin Bagley III the second pick of the June draft.
Bagley has scored in double figures in eight of his 10 games.