Tyreke Evans hits two clutch long-range bombs in game's final minutes. Raptors lose another close one. Sound familiar?
I'm not going to spend much time on this recap as tomorrow morning we'll really get into it but here are the basics:
-The Toronto Raptors fought to the finish once more and came up empty, this time thanks in part to two clutch three-pointers by Tyreke Evans, giving the Sacramento Kings an eventual 107 - 100 win. Sacramento shot 46 per cent from the field and got just about whatever it wanted on O, especially inside (56 points in the paint compared to the Raptors' 30), the main wrecking ball being DeMarcus Cousins who 25 points and 13 rebounds.
-The Kings were no defensive stalwarts themselves and for the Dinos, it was Kyle Lowry who was unstoppable on the night, dropping in 34 points to go with 11 assists and 5 rebounds and oh, for good measure, he got to the free-throw line 12 times and hit all 12 shots.
-Alas, it was the little things again in this one that led to the team's undoing. In inability to get stops in key moments, a poor second quarter showing, lax interior play, and little help for Mr. Lowry all meant that this match was indeed neck-and-neck up until the final moments. But Evans' two huge 3's with just over two minutes left, gave the Kings the edge for good, and Evans even calmly knocked down two clinching free-throws for good measure with 10 seconds left.
-Call it bad luck (Evans is a 26 per cent career long-range bomber) or call it again an inability to close things out, the bottom line is this is Toronto's seventh loss in the last eight games, and their record now drops to 4 and 15, tied for second-worst in the league along with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
-Sure, there were a few bright spots such as Lowry's play, and Mickael Pietrus with an efficient 21 points to go with six rebounds. But it's hard to be too happy with those highlights when others, like the continued excellent play of Ed Davis, continue to be overshadowed by the general malaise of this club's supposed best players. DeMar DeRozan was ok on the night, but did little to help the club down the stretch, and let's pretend Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon didn't dress. The two were a combined 4 of 17, beyond non-factors, and again Raptors' fans were left wondering why Bargs was getting key minutes down the stretch, despite putting on a performance akin to playing at the Y after downing a Big Mac Combo and 10-pack of Nuggets.
-The scary thing? This looked like by far the most plausible win on the Raptors' current five-game road trip...