Prior to tip-off for Raptors vs. Kings, the questions to Toronto coach Nick Nurse got silly fast. He was asked a smattering of queries about Patrick McCaw and the team’s rotation, of course, and discussed the need to watch some of his players’ minutes. There was a follow-up about the specific threat the Kings pose to these Raptors — they’re not an untalented team after all. And then, well, then there was a tongue-in-cheek question about his former coworker Jesse Mermuys, now an assistant in Sacramento.
Nurse joked that his least favourite thing about working with Mermuys was his “lack of enthusiasm,” a sarcastic line if you’ve spent 30 seconds near the man. Nurse went on to confirm he’d never shared an uncomfortable moment with Mermuys, but he also couldn’t resist getting in one last dig when asked a follow-up. How would Nurse rate Mermuys’ beard? “Minus three-and-a-half.” Zing!
This is the approximate tenor heading into an early season mid-week game between two teams with no natural narrative. There was a time, back when DeMarcus Cousins still roamed the floor for the Kings, when the Raptors had to be their best selves — and often found themselves unable to beat them regardless. In fact, Toronto lost four games in a row to the Kings across 2015 and 2016, despite being the playoff-bound team in the pairing. Since then, however, the Raptors have done the winning — an equal four, and most of them not particularly close.
Still, the Kings have won two games in a row now and look to be regaining their form of last season when they were the young team on the rise, ready to pounce on the unsuspecting. They’ve since added former Raptor Cory Joseph, and Canadian coaching legend Roy Rana to their ranks. Taken together, they should present a formidable opponent — especially to a Raptors team still sorting out which of its players beyond the first seven can actually play. No more narrative is necessary there.
On that note, below are your updated game details for tonight. Here’s the preview from this morning from Dylan Litman. And now, let’s watch.
Where to Watch:
Sportsnet One, 7:30pm EST
Toronto – Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol
Sacramento – De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Richaun Holmes, Nemanja Bjelica
Toronto – Patrick McCaw (knee – out)
Sacramento – Harry Giles III (knee – questionable), Marvin Bagley III (thumb – out)