The Raptors were playing a respectable game, & had carved out a healthy lead against the Kings. Then with about 4 minutes to play in Q2, someone from another dimension flicked a switch. Presto – our players were replaced by Craptors, who missed almost every shot for the next 16 minutes. During that time, Sacramento turned a 7 point deficit into a 19 point lead, in the process winning Q3 28-10. Q4 was just for show. A game which a capacity ACC crowd expected to enjoy was a boo-filled disaster.
The Kings were the happy beneficiaries of a huge game from Captain Knucklehead himself, DeMarcus Cousins. He abused Raptor big men mercilessly, on his way to a preposterous 31 points & 20 rebounds. Aaron Gray couldn’t slow down the beast, & he’s the largest Rap. Amir Johnson did his best, but he’s shorter & lighter than the Kings’ huge, mobile Centre. Amir fouled out without scoring a point, which was Gray’s total also. Ed Davis had 11 points & 13 boards, but he could feel Cousins’ shot-challenging presence all game near the bucket. Ed missed a number of close-in shots, & his free-throwing shooting is still disappointing. He wasn’t the only one floundering at the line; the team was a disturbing 25/37. This was the first game in which the absence of Jonas Valanciunas was severely damaging to the Raps. Whether he would have been able to contain Cousins is impossible to know, but he couldn’t have done worse than our overmatched big men.
The Kings were determined to deny the Raps open looks from the perimeter, as all game Cousins, Jason Thompson, & their other front court men were in our Guards’ faces. It is to the Kings’ credit that they were able to race back into sound defensive position before our Forwards could get open. James Johnson, who still should be a Rap, enjoyed his role as a harasser & blocked 2 shots. Terrence Ross was victimized once, part of a miserable 1/7 night. DeMar DeRozan was 3/11, & many of those shots were long jumpers under pressure.
What is galling about this loss is how well the Raps played for the early portion of Q2. Alan Anderson & Landry Fields were taking the ball to the hoop with success. DeMar DeRozan was attacking & getting to the line. Dwane Casey is loyal to a fault. While the Craptors were firing blanks, he wouldn’t switch out anyone, & the team needed 5 minutes to score its first bucket of the second half. Kyle Lowry, often playing with Jose Calderon in a Smurf lineup, had a “remember me?” game with 24 points, many with the game out of reach.
The Raptors need to shake this game out of their system. The Oklahoma City Thunder comes to town Sunday afternoon.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.