SACRAMENTO – It was a homecoming to forget.
Several players faced their former club and teammates for the first time Wednesday as the Sacramento Kings (17-32) hosted the Toronto Raptors (26-23). Warm feelings quickly subsided after Sacramento took a 15-point lead to halftime and defeated Toronto 109-101.
Ex-Raptors Rudy Gay and Quincy Acy saw floor time for the Kings while Ex-Kings John Salmons, Chuck Hayes, Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquez played for the Raptors. Fortunately head coach Michael Malone didn’t let NBA politics get in the way of his heart.
“I’m very happy for those four guys. I wish them nothing but the best. They were tremendous for me and for this team. We do miss them,” Malone noted after the game.
Gay recorded 24 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals while Patterson scored 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting. The remaining pieces of the December 8 trade had pedestrian nights (and Aaron Gray didn’t play), but apparently knowledge of the old playbook mattered little.
“For the most part I know their plays, (and) it’s easy for them to know ours, because it’s one versus the whole team…but it’s a lot different since that trade happened,” Gay confirmed.
The match had a sluggish pace due to a striking number of trips to the charity stripe. The Kings shot from the line 51 times (making 41) and the Raptors attempted 24 (hitting 19) which included strong performances from Isaiah Thomas (15-of-16), Gay (10-0f-11) and DeMar DeRozan (7-of-7). Sacramento was six attempts from tying its regulation record of 57 set against the Utah Jazz on April 20, 1997.
“The referees had a quick whistle, and they really wanted to control the game,” said Gay.
Thomas earned 23 points for the game, and DeMarcus Cousins added 25 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. Kyle Lowry produced 21 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 blocks for the Raptors and DeRozan scored 18.
The Kings got a scare when Marcus Thornton fell hard to the deck on a wild drive in the final moments of the first half. The veteran took a minute to gather himself and didn’t return to the game.
“He took some x-rays during the game, I think they all came back negative. So I think we’re going to see how he feels in the morning,” reported Malone.
The Kings will begin a four-game trip on the East Coast Friday starting with the Boston Celtics (17-33), so all hands will be needed on deck.
Photo Credit: Jose Villegas