The Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors have scuffled in recent
years as two of the NBA’s worst teams. This season looks no
Both will look for improved defense as they try to snap slumps
Wednesday night, with the Kings hoping to avoid a fourth straight
loss while handing the Raptors an eighth in a row on the road.
The clubs are in last place in their respective divisions after
going a combined 55-87 last season. Neither team has finished with
a winning record in any of the past five seasons.
Both currently rank toward the bottom of the league in points
allowed, with Toronto giving up 101.9 per game and Sacramento
The Kings (4-12) are fresh off allowing their highest point
total of the season in a 116-81 road loss to the Los Angeles
Clippers on Saturday. In suffering the most lopsided defeat in
series history between the Pacific Division foes, Sacramento forced
just five turnovers and let Los Angeles shoot 54.7 percent.
“It was very frustrating,” said Jason Thompson, who had 16
points and 12 rebounds. “They were pretty much getting anything
they wanted on the offensive end, and we obviously didn’t make it
better by not scoring in the beginning. We got ourselves into a
hole that we couldn’t get out of.”
Even as they’ve struggled, the Kings have usually boasted a
potent offense, averaging 99.4 points over the last three seasons.
But Sacramento is scoring 93.6 per game this season – its lowest
mark since 1997-98.
The Kings’ 34 first-half points Saturday were a season low.
“We didn’t really come out with any energy,” said DeMarcus
Cousins, held to eight points and six boards. “And it showed.”
The Raptors (4-14) also suffered from a slow start in their last
game, falling behind 61-44 in the first half Monday at Denver. They
cut the deficit to one with 2:18 left but could not take the lead,
losing 113-110 after DeMar DeRozan missed a 3-pointer as time
“We made a commitment in the second half to play defense the
whole time,” said point guard Kyle Lowry, who scored 12 of his
game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter.
“We have to play like we did in the second half in the first
That was the opener of a five-game trip for Toronto, which is
1-10 in road games. The current seven-game slide away from home is
the Raptors’ longest since dropping their final eight road games of
the 2010-11 season.
They’re 2-13 all-time in Sacramento, allowing an average of
The Kings’ offense could be tougher for the Raptors to slow down
if Tyreke Evans returns. He practiced Monday after sitting out two
games with a bruised left knee, and coach Keith Smart told the
team’s official website he expects Evans to play. He’s averaging
20.5 points in four career games against the Raptors, including 29
in a 98-91 win at Toronto on Jan. 11 in the teams’ only meeting
Cousins posted 21 points and 19 rebounds in that game, but he
has only one double-double in his past nine games after ranking
sixth in league last season with 36.