Kings turn in lowest-scoring performance of the season in loss to Raptors
After a stretch of play that included a six-game winning streak and seven wins over eight appearances, the Sacramento Kings turned in one of their ugliest performances of the season on Wednesday night.
The Toronto Raptors controlled the game from the tip as Sacramento sleepwalked through most of the game, especially in the paint and on the glass as the Kings suffered a 113-95 loss at Golden 1 Center.
“They’re one of the top teams in the league this year and have been playing really well, so we were pretty up for this one,” Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said postgame of facing the Kings.
As the old saying goes, “you can’t win ’em all,” but Sacramento’s loss to Toronto raised some red flags that had been hidden within the recent winning streak.
Lyles takes out his frustration on the rim 😤 pic.twitter.com/N94VRt0WgI
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) January 26, 2023
The Kings have often made second-half adjustments this season, but that wouldn’t be the case on Wednesday night.
Leading 68-60 to open up the third quarter, Toronto brought the hammer down on a sluggish Sacramento defense during the period as the Raptors stretched their lead to 20 points–a disadvantage that would be too much for a struggling Kings offense to overcome.
Toronto followed the blueprint of other Kings opponents this season: Attack the paint.
The Raptors entered play as the fourth-best offensive-rebounding team in the NBA, and they had their way in the paint against Sacramento by pulling down 11 offensive boards to create several second-chance opportunities. Toronto outscored the Kings 18-2 in second-chance opportunities while finishing the night with a 41-30 advantage on the glass.
Sacramento has struggled all season long when it comes to defending the paint (28th in the NBA), and the Raptors were quick to go right at the rim all night long. Toronto outscored the Kings 58-42 in the paint, marking the second time this week that Sacramento was dominated on the inside (Memphis beat the Kings 56-44 in that department on Monday).
“They flat-out kicked our a**. It’s simple. Give them credit, they killed us in the paint,” Kings head coach Mike Brown said of the loss. “We got our behinds kicked. Those dudes got up in our chest, got physical, and kept us off kilter all game.”
Toronto took Sacramento’s lethal offense out of the game on Wednesday night, as the Kings’ 95-point outing was their lowest-scoring game of the year.
For an offense that entered play leading the NBA in scoring (120.3) and offensive rating (118.5), Sacramento looked like a shell of itself during their 20th loss of the season.
All teams have stinkers. It’s part of sports. But it will be important for the Kings to shake this loss off and get back on track before they lose ground in the Western Conference standings.
De'Aaron was called for a technical foul after this play … pic.twitter.com/0nUJm0WAe9
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) January 26, 2023
Domantas Sabonis has had a lot of incredible performances this season, but Wednesday was not one of them.
The two-time All-Star turned the ball over nine times (career-high) one game removed from establishing a previous career-high of eight turnovers on Monday night. Sabonis also saw his 23-game double-double streak end against the Raptors as the center finished the night with nine points, eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
De’Aaron Fox tied his career-high for technical fouls (10) after getting T’d up during the first half. If the guard receives 16 technicals, he will be suspended for one game.
Malik Monk‘s struggles continued on Wednesday night (7 points on 2/7 shooting), but the guard said postgame that he thinks it’s a matter of time until his shots start to fall.
“I have to play better. That’s it,” Monk said of his shooting slump. “Shot’s just not going in. They’re going to start falling.”
Entering play against Toronto, Monk held shooting averages of 33 percent from the field and 24 percent from beyond the arc over his past 12 appearances.
Keegan Murray was one of the lone bright spots for the Kings during the loss as the rookie finished the game with 16 points on six-of-10 shooting from the field and four-of-seven from beyond the arc. The fourth-overall pick from last summer’s draft has scored 13+ points in four-straight games while shooting 58 percent from three-point land.
Murray also handed out a career-high four assists during the loss.
Kevin Huerter led Sacramento with 21 points on eight-of-12 shooting (five-of-nine from deep) during the loss. The 24-year-old has scored 20+ points in a game 11 times this season, which establishes a new career-high for 20-point games in a single season.
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Saturday, January 28th – Sacramento Kings @ Minnesota Timberwolves – 5:00 PM PST
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