Toronto Raptors struggle as Sacramento Kings take advantage

Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins combine for 29 second half points as DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry falter in a low-scoring affair.

Toronto Raptors struggle as Sacramento Kings take advantage
DeMar DeRozan is denied at the rim by DeMarcus Cousins. Photo: Tom Szczerbowski-USA Today Sports
Sacramento Kings
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Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors took on the Sacramento Kings Sunday night looking to finish off a 5 out of 6 game homestand with a win. The Raptors started out the game well, with DeMar DeRozan capturing his prior early success with a strong start in the first quarter. Raptors' big men Jakob Poeltl and  Pascal Siakam were able to put Kings center DeMarcus Cousins in his place as well and the Raptors appeared to be on the course to another victory. But the Raptors' lackluster shooting and defensive lapses proved costly, as everything fell apart and they could not keep up with the Kings in the second half.

Raptors Big Men Stepping Up to the Challenge 

With star center Jonas Valanciunas out with a knee contusion Sunday night, the Raptors decided to start two rookies in Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam. Sparsely-used center Lucas Nogueira  even saw time as the Raptors had to go deep into their bench in this one. The rookies fitted in seamlessly early on, as they did a great job of running the floor, rebounding and not being afraid of DeMarcus Cousins down low. Siakam played great especially as his great hustle and heart stood out all game. Poeltl contributed and had lots of poise on both ends of the floor. Nogueira chipped in what he could and ended the game 3-3 from the field. The trio of young big men for the Raptors combined for a solid 23 points and 15 rebounds. However, Cousins eventually took over and produced a 22-point, 14-rebound game himself.

Jakob Poeltl of the Toronto Raptors (pictured right) battles for the ball with DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings. PHOTO: Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press
Jakob Poeltl of the Toronto Raptors (pictured right) battles for the ball with DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings. PHOTO: Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press
 

Rudy Gay Comes Up Big Down the Stretch

Former Raptors swingman Rudy Gay was back in town once again with the Kings and did he ever leave an impression in this tightly contested matchup. He finished the game with 23 points, 17 of them coming in the second half, and hit two clutch three-pointers in the fourth quarter to suck the life out of the Raptors in the closing minutes. Gay is known for his ball-stopping ways and the starting of a new era in Toronto basketball following a 2013-14 midseason trade; but he was hitting on all cylinders in tonight's game and kept the Kings in it throughout the game as the Raptors collapsed.

Rudy Gay looks on after a stoppage in play. PHOTO: Kings.com photography
Rudy Gay looks on after a stoppage in play. PHOTO: Kings.com photography

Missed Opportunities

The Raptors had a tough time capitalizing as they struggled on the offensive end tonight. They had some possessions of stagnation and limited ball movement, but they were getting open looks from their sets and generating good offence. They just did not have in tonight's game. They shot 36 percent from the field and 23 percent on three-pointers.

Upcoming Games

The Raptors will now play eight out of their next ten games on the road after playing five of their last six games at home. The Raptors will play  at Oklahoma City to play the Thunder on Wednesday, at Charlotte to take on the Hornets on Friday, and  are back at home against the New York Knicks on Saturday in their next three games. 

Game Notes

-Jonas Valanciunas was on the inactive list tonight with a knee contusion.

-DeMar DeRozan failed to score 30 points for the first time this season tonight.

-Raptors had a 20 percent field goal percentage in the third quarter.

-Kyle Lowry secured his first double-double effort of the season with 15-point, 10-assist performance.

-Anthony Tolliver of the Kings was on the inactive list tonight with a knee contusion.