The Toronto Raptors vs Sacramento Kings matchup at the Golden 1 Center on Friday is a game between two inconsistent and slumping teams. Toronto’s on a three-game losing slide, including an absolute thumping to the Utah Jazz in their last game.
Nick Nurse’s team is in the middle of a six-game road trip that will clearly test their resolve and resilience. The Toronto Raptors’ offense has been good enough to keep them competitive, but it’s their defense that has failed them. Shoring up that defense against the Sacramento Kings is crucial for the team to snap the losing skid.
The Sacramento Kings, after winning back-to-back games, were sitting at 5-4. Since then, they have won only one of their last six games, which drops their record to 6-9. Playing in front of their home crowd has not mattered much either for the Kings. They have a dismal 2-4 slate at home, which is worse than their 4-5 road record.
Against the talented and ultra-athletic Toronto Raptors, they’ll have to execute with precision. The Kings also need to take advantage of the Raptors’ recently-leaky defense for a chance to win.
Fixture: Toronto Raptors vs Sacramento Kings | 2021-22 NBA season
Date & Time: Friday, November 19th; 10:00 PM ET (Saturday, November 20th; 8:30 AM IST)
Venue: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
Toronto Raptors Review
The Toronto Raptors' sketchy performance one month into the season could be summarized into roster adjustments that have taken away their early groove. Fred VanVleet and Scottie Barnes have already missed a few games because of injuries.
Former All-Star Pascal Siakam also just returned to the lineup five games ago against the Brooklyn Nets. Leading scorer OG Anunoby missed the game against Utah and will be sidelined for at least a few weeks.
The revolving door of rotations has somewhat disrupted their chemistry. Nick Nurse continues to rely heavily on his starters, which is probably why they greatly struggle when one or two of them are sidelined.
Van Vleet and OG Anunoby are ranked 1-2 in the NBA in minutes played this season. In any case, the bench mob has to step up for the Toronto Raptors. They have gotten barely anything out of their second unit.
The Toronto Raptors are one of those rare teams whose starting unit is averaging double figures. They just need to get production off the bench, so the first five won’t be severely taxed early this season.
Key Player - Fred VanVleet
Fred VanVleet has successfully taken on the leadership role left by Kyle Lowry. The six-year veteran has become the anchor of this young team, even with Pascal Siakam around.
VanVleet leads the Toronto Raptors in scoring, assists and three-point percentage. For someone as undersized as him, he’s also surprisingly the team's third-best rebounder.
What VanVleet brings to this young team isn’t just counted on the stat sheet. His heart is a lot bigger than his size as well. The Toronto Raptors need him so much that he leads the league in minutes per game. He will be counted even more as long as the second-stringers struggle to get their acts together.
Toronto Raptors Predicted Lineup
G - Fred VanVleet | G - Gary Trent Jr. | F - Pascal Siakam | F - Scottie Barnes | C - Khem Birch
Sacramento Kings Preview
The Sacramento Kings are mirror images of the Toronto Raptors as far offense vs defense goes. SacTown has a good enough offense but is shaky on the defensive end. It’s fair to say that they have had more than a few winnable games where they were mostly leading until the defense just crumbled.
Turnovers are also hurting the Sacramento Kings in their slump. They are averaging 14.6 TOs per contest, but have hiked it up to 15.5 in their last 6 games. What’s even more frustrating for the fans is the timing of the miscues, which seem to happen in crucial moments.
Tristan Thompson, the team’s starting center, called out the Sacramento Kings’ entire roster for their lack of effort and inspiration in their game. The talent and the athleticism of the team are quite evident. They just have to find a way of executing their game plans with their best efforts.
Key Player - Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes has exploded into the scene this season for the Sacramento Kings. He previously made a name for himself as part of the Golden State Warriors’ juggernaut with Steph Curry. Since being traded out of the Warriors’ camp, he has seemingly played in obscurity until this campaign for the City of Trees team.
He leads the team in scoring with 20.4 PPG and three-point field goal percentage of 42.5%. Often ridiculed for his inconsistent shooting, he is now one of the most feared marksmen, particularly from the corner. Barnes’ free throw attempts and makes for the Sacramento Kings have also gone up. His 6.5 FTAs this season are more than twice his career average.
The Sacramento Kings also rely on him to take on the most difficult defensive assignments. He has been quite steady through the team’s roller-coaster ride one month into the season.
Sacramento Kings Predicted Lineup
G - De’Aaron Fox | G - Tyrese Haliburton | F - Harrison Barnes | F - Chimezie Metu | C - Richaun Holmes
Raptors vs Kings Match Prediction
The battle between the Toronto Raptors and the Sacramento Kings has the makings of a thriller. With the way both teams have been playing, it’s likely to be a seesaw battle every step of the way. The team that is able to make crucial defensive stops is likely to take the W in this game.
It’s an extremely tough call, but the Toronto Raptors’ potential and depth could be the difference against the Sacramento Kings. They could edge the Kings on their home floor.
Where to watch the Raptors vs Kings game
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The NBA League Pass will stream the game live. NBC Sports California and SportsNet will also air the game as it happens locally.