SACRAMENTO -- The road is an unfriendly place, but home is no picnic either. After surviving a four-game trip with a 3-1 record, the Kings faced the Toronto Raptors Wednesday evening in the first of four games against top tier opponents at Golden 1 Center.
The Kings gave the Raptors a fight, but in the end, the team with the Eastern Conference best record came away with a 114-105 victory.
Here are six notes as the Kings drop fell to 6-5 on the season.
Better in person
The Toronto Raptors don’t look that tough on paper, but with the win over Sacramento, they are now 11-1 on the season. Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry are the stars, but coach Nick Nurse receives contributions from every player he throws on the court.
Against the Kings, Pascal Siakam had a big night, scoring 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Serge Ibaka picked up the start and added 14 points and 14 rebounds. Center Jonas Valanciunas came off the bench to chip in a double-double and OG Anunoby finished with a team-high +13 in the plus/minus category.
Coming into the season, Buddy Hield was considered a sixth man for the Kings, but that is all but an afterthought now. Coach Dave Joerger is having a difficult time giving Hield a break during a 48-minute game. Transitioning him out of the starting lineup seems completely out of the question at this point.
The third-year bomber dropped in 24 points on 9-of-22 shooting, giving him 19 or more points for the seventh straight game and pushing his season scoring average to 20.1 points per game.
Battle at the point
Every night is a challenge when you play the point guard position at the NBA level. One night De’Aaron Fox is matched up against a speedster like Eric Bledsoe. A few nights later he meets a bowling ball like Kyle Lowry.
Fox continues to hold his own, regardless of the opponent. On Wednesday, he managed score 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including 2-for-4 from long range. Fox also dished out four assists, but he turned the ball over a team-high five times.
Willie Cauley-Stein continues to impress with his offensive game. In the midst of a contract year, the fourth-year center torched the Raptors for 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting and chipped in eight rebounds and four assists. Through the first 11 games, he’s had one subpar game, which corresponded with him having to guard Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The return of Bogi
After missing the first 10 games of the season with a knee injury, Bogdan Bogdanovic returned to action for Sacramento. The second-year wing played a little over 18 minutes, finishing with seven points on 3-of-7 shooting. He came out firing, scoring five points in his first three minutes of action, but he’ll need time to adjust to the Kings new system and uptempo style.
Troy Williams continues to impress
Joerger went away from Williams in the first half, using Justin Jackson as his small forward off the bench. When he gave his two-way forward a look after the intermission, Williams sparked the team with his defensive intensity and aggressive style.
It’s a small sample size, but Williams is doing everything in his power to earn a full-time job in Sacramento. He posted a modest six points, two assist, three rebound line in 14 minutes of action, but he ran a team-best plus-four in the plus/minus stat.