The Sacramento Kings lost an ugly one on Wednesday night and it should serve as a reality check for everyone involved. While they still have a superb 27-20 record on the season, they are much more flawed than that record indicates. The Raptors made sure to remind everyone of that when they handled the Kings with ease, 113-95.
Everyone has been (rightfully) positive about this Kings group recently. They’ve provided fans with joy due to their drastic turnaround from last season and their record has them sitting in the upper half of the western conference.
Through the positivity and applause for this Kings team, many have completely overlooked some hard realities. Thanks to the Raptors performance against Sacramento, though, we were reminded of these realities.
The Kings are an exciting group. One could argue they are the most exciting group in the entire NBA. They’re the highest-scoring team in the league and they do it behind a facilitating big man (Domantas Sabonis), an elite scoring guard (De’Aaron Fox), and a plethora of outside shooters that can light it up.
The problem for Sacramento isn’t on that side. It’s on the other side of the court where they have their key flaw. Due to the defensive weaknesses of the team, the Kings are almost always required to outscore their opponents in a shootout style of play. It’s fine at times, and this group has proven they can outgun anyone., but the game against Toronto was a reminder of how drastically things change when shots aren’t falling.
There will be times when shots aren’t falling. That’s when good teams find other ways to compete. Things like locking down defensively, dominating on the glass or getting to the free-throw line. If the Kings want to be the team many are making them out to be they are going to need to address their glaring defensive weaknesses.
Sacramento Kings fatal flaw – Defense
As shots stopped falling in this game the Kings quickly became discouraged and it showed. After turning the ball over eight times in the first half they turned it over six times in the third quarter alone.
The Raptors used those opportunities to outscore the Kings 26-17 in the third and that was pretty much game, set, match. Failing to get stops when struggling offensively can take the air out of a team quickly and that was what happened here. Before they could create some sort of a rhythm and get their confidence back they were turning the ball over and giving up all sorts of offensive rebounds.
This is an offensive team, without a doubt. Still, they need to have the option to rely on other aspects of the game when needed. That would make them capable of winning a lot if games they are going to be in, especially if and when the NBA playoffs roll around.
In total, the Kings allowed the Raptors to shoot 49.5 percent from the field
. Toronto outscored Sacramento 58-42 in the paint. Additionally, the Raptors simply destroyed the Kings in second-chance points, winning that battle 18-2.
The Kings are becoming far too dependent on their potent offense and that is a dangerous game to play. The mentality needs to change sooner rather than later. A few moves to bring in defensive-minded veterans could also be very helpful.
Until something changes, the Kings are playing with a well-known flaw. Hopefully, Sacramento doesn’t go cold offensively anytime soon because that could make for a very brutal stretch.