1/9/11

Raptors Dethrone Kings in Sunday Showdown

Toronto would once again be without Sonny Weems, who has missed the last 11 games, and Tyreke Evans would also be a no-go for Sacramento. This further adds to the epidemic that is opposing teams star players being unable to play in games against Raptors, joining Dirk Nowitzki and Carmelo Anthony just to name a few. Jermaine Taylor got the start in his absence. The Raptors also made a slight lineup change as Joey Dorsey got the start in place of Amir Johnson for match-up purposes. Sacramento came into this game losing 6 straight to the Raptors at the ACC and were looking to end that streak.

DeMar DeRozan opens the scoring with a jumper, but the Kings quickly responded with a score of their own off a Cousins lob pass to Taylor. This would be the trend for most of the quarter as both team couldn't seem to miss. The Raptors were continuously attacking the paint and thus getting a lot of baskets for close range, but the Kings made their presence felt early on the boards and rewarded themselves with second chance points. As mention earlier both teams were shooting like the rim was the size of Texas, especially the Raptors who started 10-10 from the field before Kleiza missed a turnaround jumper at the 4:21 mark. After some missed FT's by Carl Landry, Jose would find DeMar cutting to the basket and feed him the perfect lob pass for the alley-oop finish to put the Raps up 24-19. The team would continue to trade baskets for the remainder of the quarter, capped off by a Bargnani dunk, quickly responded to, by Samuel Dalembert, with a dunk off his own after Bargnani failed to get back in transition. That was the final bucket of the quarter as the Raptors lead 34-31.

If there was ever a quarter with all offense and no defense the 1st was exactly that as the Raptors shot an amazing 75% from the field, while the Kings weren't too far behind at 65%. But would either team be able to maintain that hot shooting for the rest of the game? The second starts off with 5 straight points by Carl Landry to give the Kings a 2 point lead, before Jerryd Bayless, who missed the last game in Boston, answered with a 3 to regain the lead. The Kings would then turn the ball over and the Raptors capitalized resulting in a DeMar jumper. It seemed like the players became very fatigued after that 1st quarter as there were a couple of airballs, short jumpers and turnovers on both sides. After Ed Davis blocked a Cousins shot attempt, the Raps quickly got out in transition and scored via a Barbosa layup to go up 43-36. There was then yet another series of misses by both sides that was ended by a DeMar runner. Kleiza who was pretty much silent for much of the game would wake up the crowd with a vicious dunk that totally came out on nowhere. Barbosa would end the quarter with a layup at the buzzer to give the Raps a 57-50 lead going in the break.

Bargnani led all scorers with 16 at the half, while DeMar was close behind with 13. Udrih was the Kings leading scorer with 11. Julian Wright who has been playing great as off late did not see any playing time in that first half. The Raptors who are 5th in the league in offensive rebounding did not get one until the 2:48 mark in the 2nd quarter. With the Raps currently holding the lead all they had to do was come out strong in the third, play some defense and they could be walking away with the win or would they somehow let the Kings battle back and get their first win at the ACC in almost 7 years.

The 3rd was pretty much the same as the first two quarters as both teams continued to trade buckets for the most part, but the Kings advantage on the offensive glass would eventually pay-off as they would claim a one point lead halfway into the quarter. Triano would wisely call a timeout, but the play out of that timeout wasn't nearly as wise as Bargnani attempted a questionable three which he missed. After a Kings turnover, DeMar would get a no-call driving to the hoop, in which three players surrounded him, and that would lead to a Udrih 3 in transition to give Sacramento a 4-point lead. The Raps would then tie the game up on a Barbosa three, but they would fail to box out on the opposite end as the Kings scored off another offensive rebound. DeMar would start his dominance in the game from that point as he was getting required touches and when he wasn't scoring he was making plays for his teammates. He would scored 11 in this quarter and the game was tied at 85 when the buzzer sounded.

So would the Raptors be able to hold off the Kings or will they have another letdown this season. Julian Wright who hadn't played in the first three quarters would start the 4th and immediately make an impact as he would get a quick steal which would lead to a Barbosa score. Bargnani will then score again to put the Raps up 4. This game once again entered a period with both teams trading buckets, but Barbosa would hit two huge threes and DeMar would hit another jumper to put the Raps up 108-100 with about 4 minutes left. The Raps would then go on a mini collapse and DeMarcus Cousins (yea you heard that right) would take over and just like that it was a 1-point game with just over a minute remaining. Bargnani would then hit a huge 3 to put the Raps up 4, and after a 3-point miss by Garcia, Amir would hit 2 FT's to ultimately ice the game. In the end the Raps walked away with a 118-112 victory and continued their home dominance of the Kings.

On a day when Andrea Bargnani (30 points) and DeMar Derozan (28 points) combined for 58 points, the Raps were able to defeat the Kings and get the victory. Beno Udrih led the Kings with 25. Though it looked like the Raps were probably going to let this one slip away at the end, they were able to hold on and get a much needed victory. If DeMar and Andrea can continue having games like these in which they both score 25+ points, this team can start winning some game and may even be able to sneak into that 8th playoff spot. Up next for the Raptors would be the Hawks on Wednesday which would be a very tough challenge for them, especially for DeMar who would be going up against Joe Johnson.

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