clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Preview: Toronto Raptors at Sacramento Kings — For all the pizza

The Raptors have a chance to win three straight — and get a long-promised dinner party from their head coach.

NBA: Preseason-Sacramento Kings at Toronto Raptors Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors have won two straight games and head into tonight’s matchup with the Sacramento Kings on the verge of winning something even greater: A pizza party!

OK, maybe it’s not that great. It’s probably not even really a pizza party. But Darko Rajakovic promised his team that when they won three straight games he’d buy them dinner. That feels like a million years ago; the Raptors haven’t won three straight all year, and this is only their third two-game “win streak.”

Hitting three straight won’t be easy, as the Raps face the high-scoring Kings on the road (this is the second game of the Raptors’ 6-game western trip). Sacramento is 20-13 and averaging 118 points a game, despite being just 10th in the league in pace and 25th in fast break points. In other words, this is an efficient half court offense that will give the Raptors’ defense — still learning to integrate two new players, and dealing with the loss of their best defender in OG Anunoby — a real challenge.

How to Watch:

Sportsnet at 10:00 p.m. ET


Toronto: Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Jakob Poeltl, Immanuel Quickley, RJ Barrett

Sacramento: Keegan Murray, Domantas Sabonis, De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes, Chris Duarte


Toronto: Christian Koloko (respiratory — out), Otto Porter Jr. (knee — doubtful)

Sacramento: None


Quick(ley) as a Fox (sorry)

Without OG Anunoby, the task of guarding De’Aaron Fox will fall to Immanuel Quickley. Quickley is one of the few players in the league that can likely match Fox’s foot speed, but whether IQ can keep up with Fox’s arsenal of shoulder fakes, hesitation dribbles, and changes of speed remains to be seen. Fox is 6th in the league in scoring, averaging 29.4 ppg 47/39/72 shooting splits.

Coming off a 26-point night of his own, though, Quickley should make Fox work at the other end as well.

It’s only been two games, but it’s been pretty great to see how Quickley’s presence has transformed the Raptors; the roster just makes more sense with him as the starting point guard and Dennis Schroder as the backup. And it’s also been great to see the joy with which Quickley is playing; he seemed pretty dour in New York, but he’s been all smiles since arriving in TO.

Trade target

The Kings have been linked to Pascal Siakam for months, although those rumours have cooled down recently. Some sort of package centred around Siakam and Kings guard Keegan Murray seemed like the most likely deal, but that’s definitely less attractive now with Quickley and RJ Barrett on the roster. The Raps would (finally) have a good shooting roster, but they'd be small and vulnerable on defense.

Indiana still seems like the likeliest destination for Siakam, although I still dislike this urge to move him at all; I guess I get it from a cost standpoint, knowing how much his extension will be, but he’s an All-NBA player still playing at a high level, and a guy who loves being here. If the Raptors could find a knock-down bench shooter (what we hoped Gary Trent would be, but he’s completely fallen off track) and a backup 5 who can stretch the floor a little bit (what we hoped Chris Boucher would be, but he’s settled solidly into “inconsistent four”) they'd be in great shape with Siakam, Barnes and Quickley as their core.

Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster restored some goodwill with the Knicks trade. Let’s see if they have another winner up their sleeve.

Early All-Star returns

The NBA released the first All-Star voting results yesterday, and the names atop the lists — the three potential frontcourt starters and two potential backcourt starters, in each conference — are no surprise. It is a little surprising — and a little disappointing — not to see a single Raptor in the top 10 in either category.

To be clear, the Raptors should not have an All Star starter this year. Scottie Barnes is having an All-Star level season, to be sure, and I’m confident the coaches will recognize that and select him as a backup. Their record doesn’t warrant a starter, though.

But I’m disappointed that neither Barnes nor Siakam has generated enough votes to even get on the top 10. They have a city of 2.7 million and a country of 40 million behind them! Why aren’t we voting for our guys? How they hell does Kyle freakin’ Kuzma have 178,000 votes, but Barnes doesn’t even have 164,000??

I guess it’s true that Toronto and Canadian sports fans really are front-runners. We only care about our teams when they’re winning. When they’re not, it’s like they don’t even exist.

Unless it’s the Leafs, of course.

Get out there and cast some votes, people!