Road Reaction: Raptors 99, Kings 94

Ben McLemore makes his move against Jonas Valanciunas of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo: Tobin Halsey)

With “Vancouver Wants NBA” and “We The North” signs waiving in the stands, the Sacramento Kings opened their preseason schedule tonight against the Toronto Raptors in front of a packed Rogers Arena crowd in Vancouver, BC.  The action was sloppy, as was to be expected, but there was plenty to take away from the back and forth action.

Toronto burned the Sacramento with precision offense late, turning to former King Greivis Vasquez to run the show.  Sacramento responded with a group of players that have never seen the court together in an NBA game.  After leading 75-68 through three quarters, the Kings struggled to stop the Raptors in the final period, losing by a final of 99-94.

DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 21 points in just 21 minutes and Tyler Hansbrough scored nine of his 11 points off the Raptors bench in the deciding fourth quarter.

Ramon Sessions dropped in 14 points for Sacramento, while DeMarcus Cousins and Darren Collison each added 13 in the loss.

These two teams match up again in Sacramento on Tuesday evening.


Notes and Analysis

  • Coach Michael Malone turned to Darren Collison, Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay, Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins to start the game.  Malone was very clear following Friday’s practice that he intends to mix and match his lineups throughout the preseason and that Gay and Cousins are his only locks to start the opener.
  • Cousins was a beast in his limited minutes, finishing the game with 13 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes of action.  The 24-year-old center struggled with foul trouble and turned the ball over five times, but he blocked a shot and snatched two steals in the loss.
  •  Sessions played well in his Kings debut, scoring a team-high 14 points in 29 minutes.  The veteran guard has a knack for getting into the lane and tonight, it resulted in 8-of-9 shooting from the charity stripe.  Malone turned to Sessions and Collison late, with Stauskas on the wing.  That is a line up that we might see a lot of during the regular season.
  • Stauskas shined in his preseason debut.  The Canadian native had plenty of fans in the stands and the 20-year-old rookie delivered 12 points on 4-for-8 shooting in 26 minutes.  Stauskas is a knock down shooter from the perimeter, but he also showed the ability to finish at the rim tonight.  Overall, he looked green on defense and turned the ball over four times, but so did half the Kings team.
  • Like Cousins, Collison struggled with foul trouble early.  But the veteran point guard snapped out of the early funk to finish with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting and added six assists in 27 minutes. Sacramento turned the ball over 29 times as a team, but Collison, the team’s primary ball handler was only credited with one.
  • Thompson got the nod as the starter at power forward and the reviews are mixed.  In 21 minutes, he scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds, but he turned the ball over five times.  It’s early, but Thompson has really turned heads in training camp.  Don’t be shocked if he is starting game one of the regular season.
  • Ben McLemore started at the shooting guard and played 22 minutes for coach Malone.  He finished with nine points on 3-of-7 shooting, with most of his points coming in the third quarter.  The starters tried to get McLemore going early, but he missed a pair of kickouts in the first quarter.  Expect Stauskas to get a look with the starters in the coming games.  The competition is wide open at the shooting guard.  Tonight, Stauskas was the better fit with the offense.
  • 7-foot-5 Sim Bhullar made his career debut, playing the final 19 seconds of the contest.  Eric Moreland, Ray McCallum, Deonte Burton, Trey Johnson and David Wear all sat with DNP-CDs.
  • Stat of the Night: Sacramento finished with an 18-to-29 assist-to-turnover ratio.

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About: James Ham

James Ham is the senior editor of Cowbell Kingdom, providing extensive Kings coverage through news analysis, in-depth interviews with players and staff and daily coverage of breaking news since 2010. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also contributes to and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary film "Small Market, Big Heart".