Aaaaand we’re back! What a way to kick off the first game in Coach Darko’s tenure as the Raptors dominate the Sacramento Kings 112-99. It’s only preseason but that has got to give you hope for this new scheme going forward.
Before we get into the game details, let’s go over the starters. Darko’s opted to go for Dennis Schröder in the lineup along with O.G. Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl. Would be interesting to see point Scottie but it’s only game one and maybe we’ll see that down the road.
The first quarter was the most competitive quarter we got all game as the Kings actually led for most of it. Despite that, the Raptors still managed to tie it up late in the quarter as everything was nodded up at 35. “Goatee” Anunoby was a ghost in this quarter, but basketball is a game of four quarters. Gary Trent Jr. was the man of the quarter with 11 points and 2 steals. For the Kings Davion Mitchell and Harrison Barnes did the most damage as they combined for 15 points.
The second quarter was when the Raptors started pulling away. The ghost of the first quarter O.G. Anunoby made his presence felt in this quarter with a perfect 5/5 field goals to give him 12 points in the frame. Keegan Murray was the only Kings player over 5 points in the quarter, which shows you how bad things were going for them. Toronto wins the quarter 34-20 to take a 14-point lead into halftime.
Another winning quarter for Toronto to start the half. Gary Trent Jr. led the team in scoring again in this one with 7 points. He was amazing all night and led the team in scoring for the game with 22 points. He was actually the only player in the game to hit the 20 mark. For Sacramento, it was Sasha Vezenkov, the former Euroleague MVP who impressed his new team in his first stint with 5 points. But the best part of this quarter was when Gradey Dick finally checked into the game and made his first shot on the move from the midrange.
The fourth quarter was the consolation prize for Sacramento as they finally won a quarter, as it ended up 25-17. At this point, the important rotation players for the Raptors were out of the game except for Chris Boucher, who only played 3:54 and Gradey Dick? But it’s unsure if Dick will be a part of the rotation, at least to start the season. Mouhamadou Gueye was the Raptors lead scorer with 7 points in the quarter and he had some highlights. A nice euro-step finish at the basket as well as a and one dunk. Those are the types of plays that get you noticed by the coaching staff, which is huge for a player who’s fighting for a roster spot. Jordan Ford was the lead man for the Kings in their winning quarter with 8 points.
It’s only preseason but man that was a great showing. It’s hard not to get hopeful after a game like that. One area that’s still concerning is the three-point shooting as the Raptors shot 34.5 percent, only one percent higher than their average from last year. Next up is the Cairns Taipans (Australian side who play in the NBL) on Sunday, October 15.