Sacramento Kings

Five takeaways from the Toronto Raptors nine-point win over the Sacramento Kings

With its nine-point win over Sacramento, Toronto closed out its four-game West Coast trip with a perfect record of 4-0 to advance to a league-best 11-1 record on the season.

Although the game got off to a shaky start, the Raptors benefitted from contributions across the board to earn a road win over a much-improved young team in the Kings.

With that in mind, here are five takeaways from the Toronto's 114-105 win over Sacramento.

Pressure makes…diamonds?

After entering the night averaging just 13.0 turnovers per game, the Raptors committed a season-high 23 turnovers in their win over the Kings. Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green both committed five and Kyle Lowry turned it over four times. The high turnover numbers are a testament to Sacramento's defensive intensity - the Kings ramped up the ball pressure, at times picking up the Raptors ball handlers full court. In the half court, Sacramento double teamed and crowded Kawhi Leonard's space.

The result of Sacramento's defence was a disruption of Toronto's offence. The Kings picking up full court resulted in the Raptors getting into their sets eight to nine seconds into the shot clock and, in turn, the team was forced to take a number of low-quality shots in late clock situations; Toronto shot 11-for-36 (30.6 percent) from deep in the win.

For the Raptors, it should be encouraging that despite succumbing to the Kings pressure and having a rough shooting night from deep, the team still put up 114 points in the win. While other teams in the league may not have the personnel to pressure the ball as the Kings did, the Raptors are sure to see much more pressure moving forward.

Dominating the battle of the boards

Aside from the staggering turnover figure, the rebound deficit of 22 is one of the night's more eye-popping figures.

Led by three double-figure rebounders (Leonard, Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas), the Raptors outrebounded the Kings 53-31 for the game. Toronto's 13 offensive rebounds led to 16 second chance points while Sacramento's six offensive boards resulted in just eight points.

Toronto entered the night as the league's fifth-best rebounding team at 46.3 rebounds per game and made up for its offensive shortcomings and sloppy play with his domination of the boards tonight.

The Kings' youth is as good as advertised

Not many people expected Sacramento to be 6-5 after 11 games, and it's safe to say the future of the franchise is in great hands.

Tonight, 25-year-old Willie Cauley-Stein and 24-year-old Buddy Hield led the team's scoring efforts with 24 points apiece while 20-year-old De'Aaron Fox finished with 20 points and 19-year-old Marvin Bagley III added 13 points off the bench.

What's allowed Sacramento to get off to such a surprising start is their effort - head coach Dave Joerger gets this talented team to play hard, and it was evident on the defensive end tonight. Like most young teams, mistakes are to be expected, but this team makes up for plenty of its mistakes by simply playing hard. The Kings will continue to catch teams off guard this year and will be a force to be reckoned with in years to come.

Getting to the line pays dividends

Led by Kawhi Leonard, who shot a perfect 9-for-9 from the charity stripe, the Raptors finished the game shooting 21-for-23 from the free throw line, sinking eight more free throws than the Kings.

Toronto is in the league's bottom-10 in free throw attempts per game (20.5), and while tonight's 23 attempts aren't much more than that, the importance of getting to the line was on full display. The Raptors shot 17 free throws in the first half, taking advantage of the Kings increased pressure and physical defence by drawing fouls. Five of Leonard's 10 first-half points came from the line, as he worked to get his rhythm back after missing two games.

Leonard finished the night shooting just 7-for-17 from the field, but his free throw shooting propelled his total to a game-high 25 points. Toronto didn't get to the line nearly as much in the second half, but the team showed that it's capable of doing so.

P-Skills had a very good trip

In scoring 21 points (on 8-for-11 shooting) and grabbing three rebounds, Pascal Siakam finishes the four-game West Coast swing averaging 15.8 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 65.8 percent from the floor.

Siakam provided a number of problems for the Kings' defence in the win, pushing the ball in transition, using his patented spin move to get to the rim and draw contact - he was a perfect 5-for-5 from the line for the night.

The third-year forward's improvement has been one of the driving factors to the Raptors' hot start - it was his second 20-point scoring performance of the season and ninth time scoring in double figures. In the 2017-18 season, Siakam scored in double figures just four times and never eclipsed the 20-point mark.

Judging by the start to the season, he'll only continue to get better.

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