Monday, January 25

The kings seek to continue reeling the Raptors


Buoyed by a return to the win column, the Sacramento Kings’ optimism is tempered by a key health issue ahead of a home game against the Toronto Raptors on Friday.

During the Kings’ 128-124 win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, point guard De’Aaron Fox injured his right hamstring.

It looked like Fox was trying to get over the awkwardness for a few minutes before they removed him in the first quarter and didn’t come back. The injury is not believed to be serious, but his condition for Friday’s game is uncertain.

The victory, at the start of a seven-game home run, ended the Kings’ three-game losing streak, all on the road. It was a much-needed group effort in the wake of the team’s recent struggles and Fox’s early departure.

Richard Holmes led the Kings with 24 points, while Marvin Bagley I I I scored 21 points with 12 rebounds. Buddy Hield had another difficult shooting night, hitting 3 of 15 from the field, but converted a four-point late play that was key to the victory.

” I think the most important thing for us is to play a consistent game and reduce our mental lapses,” said Harrison Barnes, who is averaging 17 points per game. “You look at that last road trip and there was a lot of what could have been. Three games that fell by the wayside … Getting back on the winning track was important.”

There was also another contributor. Fox’s exit in the first quarter allowed Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton to become famous with 15 of his 17 points, his best of the season, in the fourth quarter, including a triple from the sideline with 12. Seconds remaining to seal victory.

” I was just trying to pick up the pace as best I could and I thought I did a good job,” Haliburton said.

The Raptors could use some of what inspired the Kings. The champions from two seasons ago, who have made the playoffs in seven straight seasons, have lost three straight games and are just 1-6 on the season.

The latest loss came Wednesday in a 123-115 loss at Phoenix against a Suns team that made 21 3s. Pascal Sikkim had 32 points in the loss, while Kyle Lowry had 24.

Toronto’s Fred VanVleet, who is hitting a career-best 20.6 points per game, was limited to 13 on 5 of 12 shooting from the field and 2 of 5 from 3-point range. The Raptors shot 49.4 percent from the field as a team and still couldn’t keep the Suns.

Sikkim’s performance, and at least one competitive effort against a strong Suns team, makes the Raptors feel a little better about things.

” We’re on the right track,” VanVleet said. ” I just told the guys we can’t do anything about the (games) we already lost. If you look at this as an isolated game ( Wednesday), there were a lot of positives, a lot to build on. (More) as a team than we know who we are. “

Friday’s game is the second of a challenging four-game trip for the Raptors that still has stops at Golden State and Portland.

–Field level media



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