Game 18 Preview: Raptors at Kings
Game time: 3:00 p.m. PDT
Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA.
Broadcast Information: KHTK Sports 1140 (Radio), Comcast SportsNet California (Local Television)
Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (9-8)
PG: Darren Collison
SG: Ben McLemore
SF: Rudy Gay
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins
Toronto Raptors Probable Starters (13-4)
PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: Greivis Vasquez
SF: Terrence Ross
PF: Amir Johnson
C: Jonas Valanciunas
Three things to ponder
1. Race to the line
Sacramento and Toronto face off tonight in what is a referee’s dream. The Kings and Raptors rank first and second respectively in the NBA in free throw attempts and makes, suggesting that this contest may have more stoppages than an NFL broadcast. Toronto will be without star wing DeMar DeRozan (groin) who is averaging 7.8 free throw attempts per game, but Kyle Lowry (4.8 attempts per game), Lou Williams (4.0) and Jonas Valanciunas (3.4) can pick up the slack. Sacramento hopes to have DeMarcus Cousins, who is drawing 8.3 free throws attempts per game but still recovering from a virus.
2. Perimeter defense
Unlike the Kings, the Raptors and their second-ranked offense (108.5 points per game) deploy a consistent and deep 3-point shooting team. In addition to Lowry and Williams, Terrence Ross is shooting 43.2 percent from behind the arc, and Ex-Kings Greivis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson are serious threats. Sacramento defenders can’t afford to cheat off their responsibility on the perimeter.
The Kings have shot themselves in the foot so many times this season with turnovers, that all that remains is a stump. Sacramento is 25th in the league in turnovers, and they’ve surrendered 59 in the last three contests (all losses). Less dribbling, more focus and better decision-making is the remedy.