The fact that the Raptors finished with as many personal fouls (35) as field goals made painted a pretty nice picture of how physical this game was and how mistreated the Raptors were feeling afterwards. By game’s end, two Raptors were sitting on five fouls, while Greivis Vasquez, Kyle Lowry and Chuck Hayes had all fouled out, all of them in the final 28 seconds of the game. The spirited comebacks the truly uninspired first halves have not been working for the Raps on this trip as this is the second loss following that very formula. Perhaps Casey should have been building this one up as grudge match. Maybe the sleepy first half would have been avoided.
DeMarcus Cousins led the way for the Kings, finishing with 25 points and 10 rebounds in the victory – his 30th double-double of the season. Against his former team, Gay posted a double-double of his own – 24 points on 7-of-17 shooting and 10 rebounds – in the win. “Honestly, no,” Gay said when asked if he was looking forward to Wednesday’s game versus his old squad. “I was looking forward to this win because we needed it so bad. Going into this road trip and this All-Star break, we’ve got to get some momentum going into the second half of the season. It was one of those must-wins.”
Raptors fans will surely be upset by the final minutes of the game. Kyle Lowry drained a three that would’ve cut the Kings lead to 2, but was called for an offensive foul. It appeared iffy when viewed live and was a terrible call on the replay. Lowry’s reaction to the call earned him his second technical foul and subsequent ejection. Sacramento’s been on the short end of the stick when it comes to refs, but tonight the Kings got the advantage. This will surely be overlooked the next time a bad call hurts the Kings, but it is worth noting.
“You look at Toronto’s roster and no disrespect to Jonas (Valanciunas) or Amir (Johnson) but they don’t have a true low-post presence,” Malone said. “When Rudy was in Memphis he had two [frontcourt] guys that he could play with in Marc (Gasol) and Zach (Randolph) and we just thought the idea of putting him on the perimeter with the inside presence of [Cousins] could really allow him to showcase his abilities.” “So it is a fit and guys have to compliment each other and that’s what putting together a roster is all about,” he continued. “Up there, for whatever reason, DeMar and Rudy on the court maybe wasn’t a mesh, maybe [there] wasn’t enough shots to go around. I’m not sure what it was but all I can tell you is that the games that we’ve had Rudy he’s been a great fit.”
“Do I feel like I was treated fairly? I think I took the fall for a lot of things, but it’s happened before and it’ll happen again,” Gay said Wednesday morning before facing his old team at the Sleep Train Arena here. Given the opportunity to expand on his contention that he was somehow mistreated, he would not be more specific, “I’m just saying I took the fall,” he said. What seemed to rankle Gay was the speed with which Raptors GM Masai Ujiri sent him, Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy packing in a deal for Patrick Patterson, Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes.
The short end of the stick from the referees in Sacramento wasn’t just at the end of this game. The Kings are the NBA highest fouling team averaging 23.3 personal fouls per game, but somehow in this contest, the referees decided the Kings had suddenly found discipline and were not reaching in on every single drive to the basket and jump shot – which of course wasn’t true – and only the Raptors, who hold down third spot on that list, were guilty of anything. Toronto was called for 35 personal fouls to 23 for Sacramento and the Kings got to enjoy 51 free throw attempts – more than double the Raptors 24 – as a result of some very uneven-handed refereeing. There is no guarantee that the Raptors could have completed the comeback if Lowry had made a four-point play and closed the gap to 105-103, but the bizarre call by the referee decided this game in favor of the Kings without giving the Raptors that opportunity.
“At first I thought they called the foul on Ben,” Malone said. “Then it was going to be another four-point play and déjà vu all over again. Obviously, they called the leg kick, so there was a little sigh of relief.” Had the call gone the other way, the Kings (17-32) might have found themselves explaining how they’d fallen apart in the fourth quarter. Instead, they won their second game in a row before a four-game trip that will take them into the All-Star break.
Awful game offensively. The Raptors never established inthe inside game early; too many outside jump-shots dug this team into a large hole in the beginning. As a result, the Raptors weren’t able to get to the free-throw line (arguable that referees had a lot to do with it), only attempting 24 shots at the charity stripe. 17 turnovers also allowed the Kings to get easy transition baskets, and while the team was able to hand out 25 assists, they shot a poor 43% from the field; again, most of which were outside jumpers or long twos. Lowry finished with 21 points and 8 assists.
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