At first glance, Sacramento Kings vs. Toronto Raptors doesn’t scream out marquee match-up. But because of the seven-player blockbuster trade that sent Rudy Gay to the Kings in December coupled with the presence of the NBA’s new commissioner, the Kings’ 109-101 victory over the Raptors turned into a must-watch event.
From tip off, the Kings came out aggressive against their opponents from north of the border and built a lead as large as 22 points. Toronto mustered a fourth-quarter comeback, cutting their deficit to just five points. But it wasn’t enough as the Raptors weren’t able to take the lead at any point in the game.
“That game was bizarre,” Kings head coach Michael Malone said after the win. “We made it interesting. I am very happy with the win. We got them down to 43 percent and almost kept them under 100 points, which would’ve been three games in a row. But, they outscored us 29-17 in the fourth quarter. We had some breakdowns. It’s unfortunate, but we won on our home-court and we did a good job, for the most part.”
DeMarcus Cousins led the way for the Kings, finishing with 25 points and 10 rebounds in the victory – his 30th double-double of the season. Against his former team, Gay posted a double-double of his own – 24 points on 7-of-17 shooting and 10 rebounds – in the win.
“Honestly, no,” Gay said when asked if he was looking forward to Wednesday’s game versus his old squad. “I was looking forward to this win because we needed it so bad. Going into this road trip and this All-Star break, we’ve got to get some momentum going into the second half of the season. It was one of those must-wins.”
For Toronto, Patrick Patterson played the best of the four former Kings traded to the Raptors. The fourth-year forward came off the bench to score 14 points on an efficient 6-of-9 shooting from the field.
New NBA commissioner Adam Silver was on hand to watch Wednesday’s game between the Raptors and Kings. Silver recently took over for former commissioner David Stern, who retired following 30 years as the league’s leading chief on Saturday. Silver was accompanied by new deputy commissioner Mark Tatum and met with Kings officials to assess progress on the new arena.
The Kings have now won their last two games and move to 17-32 overall, 11-16 at Sleep Train Arena. They begin a four-game road trip in Boston on Friday.
Notes and Analysis
- DeMarcus Cousins continued his strong play coming off of injury. The 23-year-old center finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds, notching his 30th double-double of the season in 38 minutes of action. Cousins now has 17 double-doubles in his last 18 contests.
- Rudy Gay looked motivated against his former team Wednesday evening, scoring 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the win. Gay came out amped up, going 0-for-4 from the field in the first quarter. But eventually he settled in and hit 7-of-13 the rest of the way out. Gay added four steals and a block in 43 minutes.
- Isaiah Thomas struggled from the field, but went an impressive 15-of-16 from the free throw line and finished with 23 points and five assists. Lowry is a tough cover and Thomas held his own.
- There was a Marcus Thornton sighting in the first half, but that ended with a thump when the 26-year-old guard went down with a bruised right hip and knee. X-rays were negative, but coach Malone alluded to a possible MRI for Thornton in the coming days. He finished with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
- Jason Thompson struggled against the Bulls on Monday, finishing with one point and four rebounds in 20 minutes of action. He bounced back Wednesday, dropping in nine points and 10 rebounds, while blocking a shot in 27 minutes. With Carl Landry slowly working his way back to health, the Kings need Thompson to bring a consistent effort every night.
- Ben McLemore finished with a modest five points, three rebounds and two steals in 24 minutes, but it was his huge rebound with 30 seconds remaining that helped the Kings salt this game away. With Thornton ailing, McLemore better get ready for major minutes on the Kings’ four-game road trip.
- Stat of the Night: The Kings shot 41-of-51 from the free throw line, compared to 19-of-24 for the Raptors.
Quote of the Night
DeMarcus Cousins on the challenge of playing against big men who know his game well:
“Yeah, it makes it that much tougher. Especially with a guy like Chuck Hayes and Patrick (Patterson) as well – they know a lot of my tendencies. They played here with me for awhile. So it made it that much tougher, but we still managed to pull out a good victory.”
Video shot and edited by Tobin Halsey.