The Toronto Raptors will be out to complete their seven-game homestand with a winning record Monday night when they play the Sacramento Kings.
The Raptors evened their record on the homestand to 3-3 with a 90-87 victory over the New York Knicks on Friday. They are 5-9 at home overall.
The Kings are trying to salvage one win from a three-game road trip. They lost 124-123 to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday that ended a three-game winning streak and were defeated 117-103 by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. They are 6-8 on the road.
Despite wasting an early 20-point lead in eking out the victory over the Knicks, the Raptors played with more energy than they did in losing 110-109 to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
“We have to win the 50-50 balls and we have got to get on the glass to get some extra possessions and things like that,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said, “and I thought we did that all night coming up with loose balls, a lot of deflections, it seemed like. Tipped a lot of passes, made a lot of passes not quite on target because of our high hands and things like that.”
Gary Trent Jr. scored 24 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:11 to play in the fourth quarter. Rookie Scottie Barnes had 12 points and a career-best 15 rebounds.
The Raptors will be looking for more consistency of effort.
“When there are an extraordinary amount of teaching moments, especially in the effort and energy area, that’s (the problem) to me,” Nurse said. “We’ve got to get done coaching those things pretty soon. This is the NBA. These games are hard. You’ve got to be ready to go out and play them hard.”
Precious Achiuwa (health and safety protocols), Khem Birch (knee) and OG Anunoby (hip pointer) are listed as out for the game on Monday.
The Kings continued to have defensive problems in Cleveland and trailed 81-52 at halftime on Saturday. And Kings interim coach Alvin Gentry said he will keep trying to fix the problem.
“It was an ugly first half and our transition defense was atrocious,” Gentry said. “But, hey, we’re not quitters. We’re going to keep battling our butts off to get through this. I can promise you that.”
Sacramento pulled to within seven points at 103-96 by opening the fourth quarter with an 18-2 run, but Cleveland regained control of the game.
Buddy Hield had 21 points off the bench to lead Sacramento’s scoring.
Forward Marvin Bagley III made his first start of the season on Saturday to help cope with the size of the Cavaliers. Bagley had seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with seven rebounds in 22 minutes.
The Kings continue to have problems with stopping penetration and preventing straight-line drives, Gentry said.
“It all starts from a resistance standpoint and I think it’s clear that we’re not doing a very good job of putting up resistance when guys are starting to drive,” Gentry said. “We’ve got to get to the point where we’re into the ball and we’re at least turning them, or we’re sending them on a flat-line drive rather than a drive to the basket, and it’s something that we’ve got to continue to work on.”
The Raptors defeated the Kings 108-89 in Sacramento on Nov. 19.
–Field Level Media