Kyle Lowry Against Sacramento Kings

Imagn | © Sergio Estrada

The Kings put up a fight on Sunday night but the NBA Champion Raptors won the game 118-113

ESPN Radio
March 09, 2020 - 6:40 pm

By Charlie O. Mallonee @Charlieo1320

NBA experts predicted that the Toronto Raptors would collapse after Kawhi Leonard bolted in free agency for the Clippers after winning an NBA Championship. Those experts were wrong.

The Raptors have already clinched a playoff berth and are in second place in the NBA Eastern Conference 7.5-games behind the Milwaukee Bucks. It is not beyond the realm of reason that the Raptors could be in the NBA Finals defending their championship in June.

The Kings came into the game on Sunday highly motivated

Sacramento played a game in Portland on Saturday night and destroyed the Trail Blazers 123-111. The Kings scored 77 points in the first half. It was the first win for Sacramento in “Rip City” since December 2012.

Even though it was the second game of a back-to-back set, the Kings played with high energy.

The game literally came down to the final seconds

The game was tied at 111-111 with 34.3 seconds to go in the game. After the Raptors built a four-point lead, the Kings made it a two-point contest when Richaun Holmes cut to basket and converted a layup with 14.7 seconds left.

Coming out of a timeout, Bjelica missed a 28-foot 3-point shot at the 13.7 mark and the Raptors scored the final two points of the game at the free throw line to win 118-113.

Toronto Head Coach Nick Nurse

Nurse was happy with the way his starting five was willing to play big minutes and fight so hard. He was also impressed by the Kings.

Kyle Lowry played an impressive game

Lowry put up 30 points by shooting 10-for-15 from the floor and hitting 6 of 10 from behind the 3-point arc. The most impressive feat that he pulled off was playing at a high level for almost 11 minutes with five fouls and not fouling out of the game.

Guard Norm Powell had a huge game

The former UCLA player scored a game-high 31 points. Powell hit 11 of 21 from the floor and went 6-for-12 from 3-point land. He was a +17 for the game.

One big question was on many minds

There was one question that was on the minds of many fans, media members and possibly players: “Why was Buddy Hield not on the floor in the closing seconds of the game?” Coach Luke Walton has said many times that there is no one that he would rather have ball in a crucial situation than Buddy Hield. Sinking a one or two 3-point baskets could have changed the outcome of the game.

To be fair, Hield was not having one of best games of the season on Sunday night. He had to take 12 shots to score 11 points. That is not a ratio that will get the job done. He was just 3-for-8 from downtown, but Bjelica who took the final 3-point attempt finished 0-for-4 from long range.

I am not a coach and Luke Walton has forgotten more about basketball than I will ever know. It would have been nice if the coach would have addressed why his best 3-point shooter was not on the floor.

Moving on to Zion

If the game on Wednesday night was going to be exciting enough with Zion Williamson making his debut in Sacramento, the Pelicans and Kings are tied for ninth place the Western Conference four games behind the Grizzlies who hold the final playoff slot.

That game is going to be televised nationally on ESPN.


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