The Toronto Raptors said goodnight to Sleep Train Arena with a 107-101 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night. Playing in their final game in Sacramento before the Kings move to Golden 1 Center next season, DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 24 points and Kyle Lowry chipped in 22 in a losing effort.
DeMarcus Cousins paced the Kings with 36 points and 10 rebounds while Rudy Gay added 27, including the late free-throws that put a bow on Sacramento's victory
In a highly contested game for all 48 minutes, the Raptors were able to outshoot their opponents from three-point range, nailing 15 of their 31 attempts when all was said and done, but it was not enough. It was not the way Toronto wanted to kick off a five-game Western Conference road trip as it will now travel to Golden State to meet the 11-0 Warriors.
Plagued by slow starts of late, the Raptors appeared poised to put their first-quarter struggles aside after opening up a 7-0 lead, highlighted by a pair of Lowry three-pointers. That was not the case as the visitors would end up shooting just 29 percent from the field for the frame.
Despite the shooting struggles, the Raptors forced eight Sacramento turnovers and led 23-22 after 12 minutes. An encouraging sight for Toronto fans was Patrick Patterson, the last remaining piece of the package that sent Rudy Gay to California in 2013, hitting two threes late in the period. If the power forward can continue to knock down the perimeter shot with consistency, Dwane Casey's bench becomes much more dangerous.
Coming off a 40-point performance last time out, Cousins poured in 23 points in the first half, showing off his newfound three-point stroke in the process. The pace of the game quickened as the half wound down and the Kings took a 53-51 lead into the locker room.
The long ball continued to keep Toronto in the game as the third quarter wore on. Struggling to hit from inside the arc, the Raptors connected on seven more triples in the third, including one by Lowry at the buzzer, but failed to create much separation, only leading by three points heading into the fourth.
Toronto began the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run, capped by a Cory Joseph reverse layup to stretch their lead to double digits. The Canadian point guard was impressive down the stretch, providing his trademark defence while chipping in with some clutch baskets. Joseph would finish with 17 points in the loss.
Refusing to quit against a usually sound Raptors defence, Sacramento stormed back, mostly behind the play of Cousins, who put the Kings up by three with 25 seconds remaining. Gay would ice the game from the free-throw line to lift his team to a third consecutive victory.
What did you guys think of the game?