Gameday: Kings vs Raptors, March 20

The Raptors currently own the longest losing streak in the league at seven games.

The Raptors begin a two week stretch where six of their next seven games will be at home, the one exception being a trip to Washington on Saturday. They will then play five of their last seven contests on the road.

Sacramento and Oklahoma City are on deck before the trip to D.C.

Kings scope: 39-28, 6th in West | Offensive Rating: 12th (116.7) | Defensive Rating: 19th (115.6)

Sac Town was the feel good story of the NBA last season, making the playoffs for the first time in 17 years. A return trip is expected but they need to hold off the Mavs and Suns in order to guarantee their spot. Many Kings fans would be on edge if they have to endure the Play-In Tournament against teams like the Lakers. We don’t need a repeat of the 2002 Western Conference Finals.

Domantas Sabonis continues to arguably be the most underappreciated player in the league. He was snubbed from the All-Star team (no Kings made it, which is a joke) despite leading the NBA with 23 triple-doubles. That even tops Nikola Jokic, who has 21. Sabonis is actually on a “cold” streak in that category, with just one over his last six games. It’s hard to envision the shorthanded Raptors doing much to stop De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento’s other star who leads the team with 26.8 ppg. Malik Monk is coming off a 28/6/6 game against Memphis on Monday and should be considered the runaway favourite to win Sixth Man of the Year. He’s averaging 16 points and five assists despite not starting a single game.

Raptors scope: 23-45, 12th in East | Offensive Rating: 22nd (113.0) | Defensive Rating: 24th (117.3)

The Raptors four best players are all out. It is what it is.

Whether you want to keep or convey the pick, the losses are piling up. Toronto has already matched its longest losing streak since the end of a forgettable Tampa year. Toronto is 1-7 since losing Scottie Barnes, 2-16 without Jakob Poeltl and own the second worst net rating (-11.9) this month. That’s still not Wizards bad though.

This is the most depleted roster the Raptors have had all season. Gary Trent Jr is the lone regular starter remaining, and even he wasn’t part of your starting five on opening day. However GTJ is enjoying his best scoring month of the season (20.1 ppg) and is shooting over 40 percent from three. Samson had more to say about Gary a couple of days ago.

A desperately needed fun note: Gradey Dick was asked about possibly the most viewed jersey swap ever. If he is boys with Nassir Little, Coby White, or anybody with the last name Brown, we might get an encore.

After a hot February, Gradey has cooled off a bit with 38/33 shooting splits in March. Down from the scorching 55/49.

Game Info

Tip-Off: 7:30 pm EDT | TV: TSN 4, 4K | Radio: TSN Radio 1050

Kings Lineup

Kevin Huerter (shoulder) got hurt two minutes into Monday’s game vs Memphis and is out. Malik Monk will probably remain in his sixth man role. Trey Lyles (MCL sprain) will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Sasha Vezenkov (ankle) has been upgraded to questionable after missing the last 16 games.

PG: De’Aaron Fox, Davion Mitchell

SG: Keon Ellis, Malik Monk, Colby Jones, Mason Jones

SF: Harrison Barnes, Chris Duarte

PF: Keegan Murray, Kessler Edwards, Jalen Slawson

C: Domantas Sabonis, Alex Len, JaVale McGee

Raptors Lineup

Immanuel Quickley (personal) is out, joining RJ Barrett (personal), DJ Carton (ankle), Chris Boucher (knee), Scottie Barnes (hand) and Jakob Poeltl (hand). Bruce Brown was the starting point guard in Denver when IQ was out.

PG: Bruce Brown, Javon Freeman-Liberty

SG: Gary Trent Jr, Jahmi’us Ramsey

SF: Gradey Dick, Jordan Nwora, Garrett Temple

PF: Ochai Agbaji, Jalen McDaniels

C: Kelly Olynyk, Jontay Porter

The Line

Sacramento is a double digit road favourite, at 10.5 points! It’s ugly out here.