Raptors soar to defeat defensively indifferent Kings

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The Sacramento Kings have had a new head coach since the last time the Raptors faced them and Alvin Gentry has made a few changes, but there’s no hiding a team that just doesn’t play on defense.

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The Kings got the new head coach right after the last beating the Raptors gave them. After Monday night’s 124-101 eruption, the Kings players called a closed-door player-only meeting.

Sacramento can score with just about anyone in the league, but when it comes to stopping their opponent, well, let’s just say they look a lot like a team saving their energy for the other end.

Thank the Raptors for maintaining their own defensive tenets in the eruption and for avoiding the scoring scenario with them that head coach Nick Nurse feared for the start of the game.

“The big message or goal today was to come out and keep in the first quarter,” Nurse said. “I thought there had been a few games where we ended the first quarter 36-34, something like that. Not what we wanted to do. We were scoring really well, but we were only trading buckets with these teams. Mentioned that before the game the big goal was to come out and set the tone defensively. That we were there to play hard on that side and I thought that was a huge key for the whole team at the start.

The Toronto offense was never a concern. They were pulling full blast Monday night, but that didn’t stop them from working on the other end of the phone.

For the game, the Raptors shot 54% while keeping the Kings at just 40%.

The Raptors set a season-high for points in the half, scoring 70 against the unfortunate Kings defense, beating the previous mark of 67 they had against Memphis earlier in the season.

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Nine different Raptors, including all five starters, scored in double digits, led by a season-high 17 from Chris Boucher, who starts center with Khem Birch and Precious Achiuwa out of action.

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Yuta Watanabe achieved his first-ever double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench.

Leading most of the night by 20 points and with a road game in Brooklyn on Tuesday, Nurse took the opportunity to rest her starters and gave her bench a little more run.

Malachi Flynn took full advantage with 14 points in just 14 minutes of action while Svi Mykhailiuk had 11 and five rebounds.

Justin Champagnie was the ninth and last Raptor to hit double digits on the night, scoring an NBA personal best 10 in 25 minutes.

Dalano Banton left the game at half-time with an illness unrelated to COVID. Nurse didn’t expect Rexdale’s pride to travel with the team to Brooklyn for Tuesday’s game.

TIME TO BEGIN TO BUTCH

With Achiuwa self-isolating until Wednesday and Birch with a knee injury showing no signs of improving, Boucher gets some starting minutes again and that suits the Montreal native very well.

According to Nurse, he and Boucher had a long, productive conversation recently.

“Look, for me, when he wants to come in and talk about what he can do, he wants to watch the movie, he wants to do stuff… Look, I think Chris is going to be fine where he is right now. »Nurse mentioned. “He likes to be the starter. He knows there are a lot of minutes there. I think he will play there. I think his challenge is when that role isn’t that big, and can he perform in that role too? We don’t have to worry about that right now because I don’t know when he won’t be where he is right now, so we’re going to focus on that now. I think he’s grown in the last two games, and hopefully he gets another good one (Monday night).

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Achiuwa has not tested positive, but he was in contact with someone who had been considered a risk by Toronto public health, so he has been self-isolating since Sunday a week ago.

SCHEDULE CHANGE

The Raptors ‘scheduled home game Thursday against the Chicago Bulls has been postponed in light of a number of COVID cases within the Bulls’ squad and among their staff.

This is the first time this season that the league has made the decision to postpone games due to a COVID situation.

The Bulls have both postponed Tuesday’s game against the Pistons and Thursday’s game in Toronto with 10 of its players affected by COVID.

Coach Nurse said the team will use the day for training in the morning and a shooting lab in the evening.

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FAMILY VOICES IN DIFFERENT LOCATIONS

The familiar voices calling for the televised broadcast of the Raptors games on Monday and Tuesday night were absent.

Matt Devlin and analyst Jack Armstrong, who normally team up to call Raptors games on TSN, have both been in contact with someone outside of the organization, who has since tested positive for COVID-19.

The pair made the prudent decision to stay away from work and monitor themselves for an unexpected period.

So, on Monday evening, the televised tasks calling for the match were handed over to Paul Jones, who normally takes care of the radio broadcast. He was joined in the analyst chair by the familiar face of Leo Rautins, who until this year had been the analyst for all Sportsnet games.

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Tuesday night in Brooklyn, with the Raptors playing a back-to-back, Jones radio teammate Eric Smith will call the game from Sportsnet Studios with Amy Audibert, who normally serves as a sideline reporter, in the analyst chair. .

GAME DAY: Toronto Raptors (12-14) at Brooklyn Nets (19-8), 7:30 p.m., Barclays Center, TV: SNET: RADIO: FAN590

SCOUTING REPORT: The Nets are settling in well without Kyrie Irving having won nine of the last 12 games. Their depth, however, is being tested by the injuries of Joe Harris and more recently by the addition of Paul Millsap to the COVID list. Former Raptor DeAndre Bembry took advantage, making the last 10 starts for the Nets and most recently Patty Mills joined the starting five. The Nets always go as far as Kevin Durant and James Harden take them and that won’t change no matter who comes in or who leaves.

MATCHUP HAT: Kevin Durant vs. Scottie Barnes

Durant, the 11-time star, shows no sign of slowing down, after an evening of 51 points with seven rebounds and nine assists against Detroit. Barnes was no slouch himself and comes out of a solid night, holding RJ Barrett at 17.

DID YOU KNOW: As options dwindle, the Nets can still get Blake Griffin and Bruce Brown off the bench… The Nets are a perfect 4-0 competition against the Atlantic Division… James Harden is second in the league in assists with 9.6 par game behind only Chris Paul of Phoenix, who is 10.2 … The Nets went from 14th place a year ago to first place in the NBA in three-point goal percentage. Teams shoot just 30.8% against the Nets in three.

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