Game Preview: Kings (9-8) vs. Raptors (13-4)


The Kings, without DeMarcus Cousins for the second straight game, lost to the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday afternoon. It is what it is. The Kings would have had a tough time defeating the Western Conference leading Grizzlies with Cousins. Without Cousins? Forget about it.

We don’t know if DeMarcus Cousins is going to be available tonight, but as we’ve learned over the past two games without him, he means everything to this team.

The Raptors are in town minus All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan who is going to be out a while with a torn tendon in his groin. That sounds delightful. Toronto lost their first game without DeRozan on Sunday night to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The point being, this team is beatable right now. I don’t want to take anything away from the Raptors. Through November they’ve looked like one of the elite teams in the NBA, but on the road, in Sacramento, without arguably their best player, this is a game the Kings can win. If DeMarcus Cousins is healthy.

The only thing we have to go on in regards to Cousins’ health is this tweet from Jason Jones, the Sacramento Kings beat writer for the Sacramento Bee. Of course, nothing here is concrete, and Jason will be the first person to tell you that he is not a doctor, but …

That’s good news, obviously.

I don’t want to make it sound like the Raptors are a bunch of nobodies without DeRozan. They have a lot of talent across the board. Kyle Lowry is one of the best point guards in the NBA, and his physicality is going to be an issue for Darren Collison and the Kings tonight.

The Raptors bench, namely Lou Williams, could cause the Kings a major headache should Michael Malone stick with struggling backup point guard Ramon Sessions. I don’t want to pile on Sessions. He’s had a well-documented rough season thus far, but for as much as he’s struggled on offense, I think he’s struggled on defense just as much, if not more.

After Sunday night’s game against the Grizzlies, Michael Malone said something to the effect of the gap between Ramon Sessions and Ray McCallum being very slim, meaning Sessions hold on that backup point guard spot is slowly slipping away.

I know I said this in my last preview, but tonight could be the night for Ray McCallum. Ray hasn’t been an offensive force in his limited minutes this season, but I do think he is a more responsible defender, and the Kings are going to need that against Lou Williams.

There is no shortage for story lines surrounding tonight’s game. Rudy Gay playing against his old team (again), Patrick Patterson, Greivis Vasquez, James Johnson, and Chuck Hayes are all former Kings. Johnson infamously wore a Sonics hat in the Kings locker room after the sale to Seattle was announced. And, of course, this hilarious video of Valanciunas flinching after Cousins pretended to come at him in the FIBA World Cup. In fairness to Valanciunas, I would have done the same thing. This should be a good one.

And because Kings fans are the best in the world, tonight’s game will be on NBA TV after another impressive fan night voting win. If you want to get a head start on next Tuesday’s game, you can vote for the Kings vs. Lakers game right now, here.

Check back in to A Royal Pain after the game for our recap.