NBA Gameday: Kings in Canada looking to avoid 0-5 road trip

NBA Gameday: Kings in Canada looking to avoid 0-5 road trip

No one said it was going to be easy. After dropping their fourth straight Saturday night, the Sacramento Kings are back at it on Sunday against one of the best the Eastern Conference has to offer. The Toronto Raptors won 56 games last season and they are once again primed for a long playoff run this year.

The Kings are struggling to find their way on the road. With Rudy Gay doubtful for a second straight game, Sacramento needs more from its supporting cast. DeMarcus Cousins saw double-teams all night against the Bucks on Saturday and if his teammates don’t start hitting some shots, he’ll see more of the same against the Raptors.

Toronto quietly posted the second best record in the east last season under Dwane Casey, but they lost bigs Bismack Biyombo and Luis Scola in free agency. They are an exceptional perimeter team, which could give the Kings fits. But Cousins should have a big night against a team lacking in size.

Raptors by 9.5

Ty Lawson and Arron Afflalo vs. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan -- The strength of the Raptors team is in their guards. The All-Stars duo of Lowry and DeRozan have combined to score 53.2 points per game through five contests, including a big 35.8 from DeRozan. Lawson is still trying to pick his spots in the Kings’ new offense and Afflalo is struggling mightily early in the year. If the Raptors leaders get it going, it will be another long night for Sacramento.

Kings: 2-5, last place in Pacific

Raptors: 4-1, first place in Atlantic

Kings: F Rudy Gay (rib cartilage injury) doubtful, Anthony Tolliver (knee) doubtful, PG Darren Collison (suspension) out.

Raptors: C Jared Sullinger (foot) out, PG Delon Wright (shoulder) out, Jonas Valanciunas (knee) out.

Sacramento swept the season series 2-0 last year against the Raptors. The Kings own a 24-15 lead over the Raptors all-time.  

“We’ve got to stop a slide, you know. It felt like they were playing and we didn’t have a pop to our game. A good team will take advantage of that.” -Omri Casspi following the Kings blowout loss in Milwaukee Saturday night

Why Kings' win over the Thunder meant so much to coach Dave Joerger

Why Kings' win over the Thunder meant so much to coach Dave Joerger

SACRAMENTO -- How do you stop the noise? You go out and win another game. 

The Kings continued their hot start Monday night at Golden 1 Center, surviving a rough third quarter to come away with a 117-113 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. The win snapped a two-game skid, and propelled the Kings back over .500.

Caught in a media storm over his future with the club over the last 48 hours, Kings fans gave embattled coach Dave Joerger a loud ovation before the start of the game. 

“We really care about our fans, we’ve got great fans, I love it here, I love listening to the ovation tonight - that was really cool,” Joerger said after the win Monday. “And to get the win over a very, very good team tonight is really gratifying.”

It’s not the situation that anyone wants to be in. Despite assurances that his job was never in jeopardy, the stress of hearing your name brought up in regards to a potential coaching change is never easy. Joerger took the chaotic situation to heart.

His young team did their best to block out anything coming from beyond the walls of the locker room.

“Every game is important for us, we just try to stay together, don’t listen to the outside and nothing really matters, except everybody on this team,” rookie big man Marvin Bagley III said. “Going out and winning, that’s the main goal for us is to win every game we step on the floor and play and that’s all that matters.”

One of the few veterans on the squad, guard Iman Shumpert, has seen just about everything in his eight-year career. After putting up 23 points on the night, he was feeling good and tried to lighten the mood in the locker room.

“I’ve been a part of all type of rumors,” Shumpert said. “When I was with the Knicks, I got traded for three years before I actually got traded. I don’t know how accurate your guys' information is sometimes.”

Joerger survived the ordeal, and may have even come out stronger. His team is playing a fun brand of basketball, and the fans are engaged and ready to back him.

No one expected the Kings to sit at 9-8 through 17 games. They took their first negative hit from the outside, and bounced back for a big win. There is a resiliency to this group that is refreshing. They’ll have another test come Wednesday when they fly to Utah to face another playoff contender in the Jazz.

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 117-113 win over Thunder

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 117-113 win over Thunder


SACRAMENTO -- The one that almost slipped away.

The Kings looked unbeatable early, yet had to overcome a rough third quarter en route to a 117-113 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.

The Thunder outscored the Kings 29-15 in the 12 minutes after the break. Still, Sacramento opened the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run to retake the lead and then rode a raucous Golden 1 Center crowd to victory.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings moved back over .500 on the season at 9-8:

Marvelous Marvin

Rookie Marvin Bagley III struggled in his first stint on the court, but he was incredible late. The No. 2 overall draft pick attacked the Thunder on both ends of the floor and brought energy.

Bagley scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting off the bench, adding 13 rebounds and three blocks in the win. With the 19-year-old playing well, Kings coach Dave Joerger let him finish the game on the floor for one of the few times this season.

[HAM: Source: Kings coach Joerger's job not in jeopardy despite report]

Buddy and Bogi

Joerger has been reluctant to use his two shooting guards together on the court at the same time. Against the Thunder, the two took turns lighting it up from long range. 

Buddy Hield caught fire late to finish with a team-high 25 points on 5-of-10 shooting from long range. Bogdan Bogdanovic hit for 16 points on 4-of-9 shooting from deep, and added five rebounds and three assists. 

Iman gets hot and then not

Iman Shumpert loves to play against OKC. After dropping 26 points in the first matchup between these two teams, the veteran went to work again Monday. 

Shumpert caught fire early, scoring all 23 of his points in the first half. It looked like a foregone conclusion that Shumpert would break his career mark of 27 points, but he couldn’t get anything to fall in the second half.