The final score doesn't quite tell the whole story. The Sacramento Kings were highly competitive for most of the game Tuesday evening against the Toronto Raptors. Playing shorthanded, they hung in tough against a very good Eastern Conference squad.
A few mistakes here and there proved costly and for the second straight game, the Kings went home without a win. With the 120-105 loss to the Raptors, Sacramento is now 1-3 on their season-long six-game road trip. They'll have a few days to regroup and recover before taking on a struggling Grizzlies team Friday in Memphis.
The loss pushed the Kings back to the .500 mark at 24-24. Here are the positives and the negatives from the loss.
Marvin Bagley has been waiting patiently for his moment to start. The 19-year-old has been solid for most of the season, showing flashes of the athleticism and advanced offensive game that made him the No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft.
With Nemanja Bjelica sitting out his first game of the season to rest, Bagley finally got his chance and he didn't disappoint. Sacramento's prized rookie went to work against the Raptors front line, finishing with a career-high 22 points on 10-of-20 shooting to go with 11 rebounds and two blocks.
The double-double was the sixth of the season for the former Duke star in 34 games. Coach Dave Joerger has used Bjelica to space the floor and open running lanes for De'Aaron Fox, but Bagley is the future at the power forward position for the Kings. His performance against Toronto shows that the future might be now.
Bogi at the Three
Bogdan Bogdanovic is the Kings' most versatile player. He can score from anywhere on the floor. He is their best pick-and-roll player on the squad and he can play three or four positions on the court. He's also a player that doesn't mind starting or coming off the bench.
Anytime Iman Shumpert misses a game, Bogdanovic steps into the starting lineup. He changes the look and feel of the opening group, giving Joerger the ability to run more sets in a half court offense.
Against the Raptors, Bogdanovic carried the bulk of the distributing duties, finishing the night with 16 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and three steals.
When Joerger made the decision to sit three of his starters, he did so without the knowledge that Kawhi Leonard would also rest for the Raptors. The instant reaction from fans was that the Kings were throwing away the chance to beat a shorthanded Raptors team, ignoring the fact that Toronto came into the game 11-2 on the season without their star forward.
Could the Kings have beaten the Raptors if they went in at full strength? Maybe. Then again, Maybe not.
Fox, Bjelica and Shumpert have all struggled mightily in the month of January. The hope is that a three-day respite will help reboot and recharge the trio. It might not work, but running the group into the ground on the second night of a back-to-back is a recipe for disaster.
Ben McLemore's Mental Lapses
When you're given an opportunity at the NBA level, no matter how long you've been in the league, it's a chance to show your coaching staff you are ready. That is not what McLemore did Tuesday in Toronto.
While McLemore hit a few shots, scoring 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting, including a pair of makes from long range, he also made a couple of inexcusable mistakes.
With the Kings trailing by eight at the end of the third quarter, McLemore fouled Delon Wright on a 60-foot buzzer beating attempt. The replay clearly showed McLemore running down the court with his hand on Wright's arm. When the Raptors guard went to shoot the ball with .2 of a second remaining, it was an easy call.
Wright hit two out of three to push Toronto's lead back to double-digits heading to the fourth. In the fourth, he gave a tough foul to Norman Powell as flew in for a fastbreak lay up.
McLemore hasn't played much this season, but he can't make rookie mistakes like this in his sixth season in the NBA.