Game Preview: Toronto Raptors (7-3) at Sacramento Kings (3-7)


Currently on a two game winning streak, the Sacramento Kings will look to continue success in tonight’s matchup against the Toronto Raptors.

Compared to the previous opponents the Kings have beaten (Pistons and Nets), the Raptors are a more competitive team, and have also shown to be competitive in the past two seasons. In order for the Kings to complete a statement win tonight, they must follow these three keys to the game.

Turnover Game: Despite being on a winning streak, the turnover woes continue for the Kings this season. Out of all of the NBA teams, the Kings are ranked 27th in the league in ball security, averaging 16 turnovers per game.

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On the other hand, the Kings have done a good job in forcing turnovers on their opponents, causing around 17 opponent turnovers a game.

If the Kings can take care of the basketball, plus be able to keep forcing turnovers on their opponents, the purple and white will be able to win the momentum game in an already energized Sleep Train Arena. Making it tougher for opponents.

Boogie-Rondo Combo: In the last two games (wins), DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo have played extremely well. In wins this season (three games), Cousins is averaging 31.3 points, 11 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks a game, while Rondo has averaged 19.3 points, 12.3 assists, and 8 rebounds a game.

In order for the Kings to come out victorious tonight, both players have to make a positive impact on the offensive end. If both are able to display solid performances tonight, the Raptors stout defense (ranked 6th in points allowed) will have trouble handling this budding dynamic duo.

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Perimeter Defense: DeMar DeRozan (averaging 20.8 points) and Kyle Lowry (averaging 19.4 points) are the main offensive assets for the Raptors, which means that guards like Rondo, Ben McLemore, and Marco Belinelli will have their hands full on the defensive end.

If the Kings are able to at least contain the duo of DeRozan and Lowry, it will cause a struggle for the Raptors to put points up, even against an inferior defensive squad in Sacramento.

Final Thoughts: Overall, I like the Kings winning tonight’s game. I think the major matchup tonight is the Kings offense vs the Raptor defense, and since the players on Sacramento are starting gel with one another offensively (in my opinion), I’m giving them a slighter edge. Like the saying goes, “Offense wins games, but defense win championships.” Right? Defense still a concern for Sacramento however.

I do think DeRozan and Lowry will have solid performances scoring the ball tonight, which will lead to a competitive game throughout all four quarters, but I also think Cousins is going to have a monster game as well.

So far this season, Cousins has completely dominated every big that has gotten in his way (recently Andre Drummond and Brook Lopez), and I think he will continue that assertiveness tonight against players like Jonas Valanciunas and Bismack Biyombo.

Next: Kings Squeak Out Win Against Nets

With the dominance that Cousins brings in the paint, and now on the perimeter, plus Rondo’s playmaking ability, I think will earn the Kings a hard fought win.