Franchise-Record Night By Raptors Offense Sinks Kings
Toronto caught fire in the fourth quarter to hold off Sacramento in a high-scoring shootout
Only one season removed from an NBA championship, the Toronto Raptors seemed to have fallen on hard times to begin the 2020-21 regular season.
Coming into action on Friday night in Sacramento, Toronto held a 1-6 record over the first seven games of the season. The number-two seed from the Eastern Conference last season clearly needed a slump-busting performance to change their spirits and get their season back on track.
It looks like a visit to Golden 1 Center was all that they needed to get going.
A record-breaking performance from the Toronto offense helped knock off the Sacramento Kings on Friday night, as the Raptors would shoot their way to a 144-123 win for their second win of the season.
Toronto’s 144 points broke their franchise-record for points in a regular-season game, topping the 140 points that were posted on January 13, 2019.
Sacramento (4-5) drops back below the .500 mark with the loss.
It was a shootout on Friday night in Sacramento, with the Kings scoring 43 points in the first quarter and 74 points in the first-half–the most points scored in half this season.
De’Aaron Fox was originally questionable heading into Friday’s game with hamstring tightness, but the medical staff cleared the 23-year-old for action a few hours before tip-off.
‘Swipa’ would shrug off any concerns over his health in the first-half, scoring 16 points on six-of-seven shooting to help lead the Kings into the break with a 74-71 lead.
The second-half would be all Toronto, however.
With Fred VanVleet (34 points) and Chris Boucher (23 points, 10 rebounds) helped Toronto pull out in front for good in the third-quarter, outscoring the Kings 40-29 in the period.
Sacramento couldn’t close the gap in the final frame, being outscored 33-20 en route to their fifth loss of the season.
Toronto finished the contest with a blistering 51-percent average from beyond the three-point line, knocking down 20 of their 39 attempts against a sluggish Kings defense.
Fox would finish with 23 points on nine-of-11 shooting, his sixth game this season scoring 20-plus points. The fourth-year guard stated that his hamstring feels good postgame when addressing the media.
Harrison Barnes paced the Kings offense over the first 24 minutes, scoring 16 points on five-of-six shooting from the field in the first half. Barnes went on to finish the game with 21 points, four rebounds and eight assists in yet another fantastic game out of the nine-year veteran.
The electrifying rookie Tyrese Haliburton put on another long-range display against Toronto, drilling five of his seven three-point attempts in the losing effort. Haliburton finished with 15 points, his second-straight game with 15 points or more.
Haliburton was a key component of the offensive attack, dishing a career-high seven assists and turning the ball over just once.
Over seven games this season, the rookie has dialed up 35 assists and only turned the ball over five times. That is not easy to do, by any means. Sacramento has something special in Haliburton, who also is proving to be a lethal threat from beyond the arc.
His 18 three-point field goals on the year trail only Buddy Hield on the current roster, while his three-point field-goal percentage (52%) is beyond impressive.
Richaun Holmes got into foul trouble early on Friday night, picking up his fourth personal foul with 3:46 remaining in the first-half.
Holmes was not his normal self against Toronto, finishing with 10 points and zero rebounds over 24 minutes of action.
Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III each contributed with 15 points in the loss, while Glenn Robinson III scored 9 points on what was his 27th birthday.
Center Hassan Whiteside did not play for the second-straight game on Friday. Luke Walton said postgame that the defensive-minded big will be getting more minutes soon to help protecting the paint.
“We might have to make some changes,” Walton said postgame.
“It’s not performance based. We know what he can do. He’s good at his job. It’s more matchup based.”
The Kings were out-rebounded 44-26 on Friday night.
Having Whiteside (hopefully) maximizing his true skill as a rebounding, shot-blocking center is the exact boost that this team needs right now.
Of course, the question is: Can he really be that player?
Sacramento has not looked good with Whiteside on the floor. At times he looks disengaged and flat-footed when defending in the paint. The Kings need interior defense, but it remains to be seen if is is going to come from the 31-year-old.
Sacramento won’t have long to rest, as they will be back at Golden 1 Center in less than 24 hours for a test against Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night.
The Kings and Blazers split the season series last season, each picking up two wins apiece.
Harry Giles III will make his return to Sacramento on Saturday in his first appearance against his old squad since departing for Portland in the offseason. Giles is averaging 3.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per game to begin the year.
Be sure to tune in for pregame coverage starting at 6:30pm PST followed by tip-off at 7:00pm PST right here on Sports 1140 KHTK.