The Kings took knockout blow after knockout blow from the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night; thing was, the Kings didn’t land any haymakers of their own.
The defending NBA champions slugged their way to a 124-120 win over the Kings behind 24 points from Kyle Lowry, 21 from Serge Ibaka and 23 from Pascal Siakam. Harrison Barnes had 26 points to lead the Kings while Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 22 and Buddy Hield had 21. The Kings hit 20 of 43 3-pointers to hang with the Raptors.
But the Raptors knew how to close out a win. In the fourth quarter, Lowry drained 3s and Ibaka had a thundering dunk as the Raptors never let the Kings come within a basket of the lead.
Barnes hit a 3 with a minute to go to draw the Kings within four, but they were unable to get any closer.
The Raptors were red hot in the first half, shooting at a 70 percent clip for much of the first 24 minutes. They also hit 17 of 19 free throws. But for the first time this season, the Kings didn’t let the game get out of hand while the other team was rolling. Though they shot just 43 percent in the first half, the Kings trailed just 66-58. Pin that on offensive rebounds, as Sacramento nabbed seven offensive boards in the first half. Toronto, which made virtually every shot, had just two.
Cory Joseph and Doug Christie day
Cory Joseph got a nice welcome back to his native Toronto area Wednesday night. The backup Kings guard got a video tribute celebrating his time with Team Canada in international basketball. His Kings teammates smiled and watched the scoreboard over the court.
At the end, live video of Joseph waving to the fans was shown as the announcer bellowed, “Canada’s proud of you.”
Kings TV commentator Doug Christie also had a video tribute and got a nice round of applause from the crowd. Christie played with the Raptors from 1996 to 2000.
Jackson keeps up with young guns
Though they had a game looming with the Raptors in two hours, five Kings backups played spirited games of three-on-three, with a focus on defense.
How does a three-on-three game work with five players? The sixth was Bobby Jackson.
With Justin James, Yogi Ferrell, Wenyen Gabriel, Harry Giles III and Caleb Swanigan on the floor, Jackson worked up a sweat keeping up with the youngsters. The longtime King, both as a player and an assistant, was making passes into tight windows and letting his players try to make the offense click. When the games were over, the 46-year-old hustled back and forth across the court to get in some extra work.
Whatever it takes to help these guys progress.
Coach Luke Walton was asked before the game about what he looks for in his assistants.
“I’m pretty open to my coaching staff, it doesn’t matter as far as wins and losses go, that positive attitude is something we need to bring every day,” Walton said.
Old and new
The Kings had a 10 a.m. team meeting Wednesday morning. The first one there? Trevor Ariza. Including the draft, he’s changed teams 12 times in 16 seasons. He also has an NBA title from 2009 with the Los Angeles Lakers.
On a team with only three 30-somethings, and lots of undeveloped talent, Ariza stands out for his quiet leadership. So does Harrison Barnes, who also has an NBA championship ring from his time with the Golden State Warriors. He’s averaging 14 points a game, basically the same as what he provided after being traded from the Mavericks to the Kings last season.
“It’s important to have that mix,” Walton said. “Part of growing is players learning from their coaches, and part of it is learning from the veterans. ... These guys know what it takes to win.”
Kings injury report
Marvin Bagley III (thumb) and Giles (knee) both were listed as inactive for Wednesday’s game.
Sacramento Kings upcoming schedule
Nov. 8 at Atlanta Hawks
Nov. 12 vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Nov. 15 at Los Angeles Lakers
Nov. 17 vs. Boston Celtics
Nov. 19 vs. Phoenix Suns