Road Reaction: Sacramento Kings 105, Toronto Raptors 96

The Sacramento Kings continued their strong play tonight in Toronto, beating the Raptors 105-96 on the back of another big performance by DeMarcus Cousins.  The Kings have now won four of their last five and improved to 2-1 on their four-game road trip.

Notes and Analysis

  • Once again, it was all DeMarcus Cousins tonight for the Sacramento.  The Kings big man has really responded since returning from suspension and the Raptors had no answer for him.  Cousins finished with a season-high 31 points and tied his career-high 20 rebounds in the win.  More than the points or rebounds, the former Kentucky star is getting his teammates involved early in game.
  • Jason Thompson is becoming the Robin to Cousins’ Batman.  The post duo continues to pound their opponents into submission and tonight was no different.  Thompson finished with 14 points on 7-for-11 shooting and grabbed six rebounds in 30 minutes of action.
  • John Salmons took over late in the third and early in the fourth quarter.  After a lackluster game in Cleveland on Wednesday, Salmons scored 20 points on 7-for-14 shooting and added four assists.  The Kings need Salmons to continue to play strong while Marcus Thornton and Tyreke  Evans heal up.
  • Isaiah Thomas played a solid 31 minutes at the point, finishing with 11 points and six rebounds.  On the defensive end, it was a completely different story.  The Raptors point guards feasted on the Kings’ backcourt, combining for 37 points.  Thomas and Brooks need to figure out a way to provide more on the defensive end for the streaking Kings.
  • Francisco Garcia continues start in place of Evans at shooting guard.  Where Thomas was solid offensively, Garcia wasn’t, but he provided a whole lot of defense.  The veteran wing finished with three points on 1-for-7 shooting, but added three blocks and two steals in 23 minutes.
  • The Kings outscored the Raptors 28-10 in the deciding third quarter.  While the final score says this was a nine-point Kings’ victory, that doesn’t come close to telling the real story.  With another road game tomorrow night in Brooklyn, Keith Smart rested most of his starters down the stretch with the game in hand.
  • Stat of the Night: For the first time since March of 2011, the Kings have won back-to-back games on the road.  They are now 3-13 on the season away from Sleep Train Arena and 13-20 overall.

Three answers to three questions to ponder

1.  Can the Kings slow Kyle Lowry?

Lowry was great, but when your best two players play the same position, you are going to have a problem.  The former Rocket scored a team-high 24 points on 5-for-10 shooting from the field and 10-for-12 shooting from the line, but he played only 28 minutes while splitting time with Jose Calderon.  Lowry scored 15 of his 24 points in the final quarter when the game was completely out of reach.

2.  Will Jason Thompson duplicate the effort from his last outing against the Raptors?

The Kings power forward continued his incredibly consistent play tonight in Toronto.  When Cousins wasn’t destroying the opposing post players, Thompson was busy beating them with jumpers and half-hooks.  Toronto tried to go small on the Kings and for one of the first times this season, Smart stuck with his jumbo line-up and made Dwane Casey pay.

3.  How will the Kings respond to the Raptors stifling defense?

The Kings responded by putting on a big man clinic.  The Raptors had no answer for Cousins or Thompson as the Kings outscored Toronto 52-32 on points in the paint.  The Kings finished with 105 points, but it could have been more if Sacramento didn’t coast in the fourth quarter.

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About: James Ham

James Ham is co-owner and 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. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also provides game day coverage for NBA.com and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary "Small Market, Big Heart".