The Toronto Raptors have now lost three straight games for the third time this season losing to the Sacramento Kings 126-121 on Friday.
The Raptors battled back after being down by as many as 18 points, but the Kings hold on at the end earning a season split.
Pascal Siakam finished with a game-high 32 points in the loss. Fred VanVleet had 26 points, six assists and five rebounds. Kyle Lowry picked up two technical fouls, his second coming with less than five seconds remaining in the game, sealing the win for the Kings.
Harrison Barnes led the way from the Kings with a team-high 26 points.
Here are eight takeaways from Friday's game.
1. Clutch games
The Raptors were in another clutch game their 11th this season. They did an incredible job of battling back being down as many as 18 points in the game, but it wasn't meant to be as the Kings close the door on the comeback attempt.
Toronto is now just 3-8 in clutch games this year. A far cry from the resolve they showed in those situations last season where they won 67.6 percent of those games good for third in the league. Just another stat that has gone the other way on the Raptors this season.
2. Lowry is the best in the biz
In a game with very few positives for the Raptors, why not highlight the best in the league at drawing charges.
Kyle Lowry led the league with 11 charges drawn coming into the game. Add one more to the total and #NBATopShotThis.
No one does it better than @Klow7. #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/NEemIS5wVc- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) January 30, 2021
3. Kings getting to the line.
Coming into the game, Sacramento was second in the league in free-throw attempts averaging 25.2 per game. On Friday night they got to the line 31 times converting 77.4 percent.
The Raptors on the other hand have fouled a ton this season averaging 21.9 times per game ranking 28th in the league coming into Friday's game. The whistles haven't been kind to Toronto this season and the Kings took advantage of that.
4. Buddy Hield payback game
Buddy Hield came out hot against the Raptors in their previous matchup in Sacramento. He had eight points on 75.0 percent shooting from the field in the opening frame of that game. And then he cooled off only finishing with 15 points shooting 6-for-14 from the field in the Raptors' comeback win.
On Friday, he was hot and stayed hot finishing with 22 points while shooting 62.5 percent from deep.
Hield's scoring has dropped this season as the Kings have a far more balanced attack than they've had in the past, but he's still an elite scorer and can put up points in bunches when need be.
5. Tyrese Haliburton my goodness
How good has Tyrese Haliburton been so far this season? The Kings' guard is in the running for Rookie of the Year averaging 11.1 points, 5.0 assists, 1.1 steals while shooting 48.5 percent from the field.
This finish will help that percentage. Just nasty.
DAMN, HALI‼️ pic.twitter.com/WYfvnH08lG- Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) January 30, 2021
And how about the clutch triple late? Haliburton is poised beyond his years.
CLUTCH. pic.twitter.com/KI0TaHLkGT- Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) January 30, 2021
6. Third-quarter woes
The last time these two teams played, the Raptors exploded in the third period dropping 40 in the frame and demoralizing the Kings en route to the victory.
On Friday, the Kings returned the favour dropping 36 points in the third period extending their lead to 13 ahead of the fourth.
The third quarter has been a problem for both teams this season. The Kings had been getting outscored by 11.5 points per 100 possessions ahead of Friday's win. Toronto had been getting outscored by 4.6 points per 100 possessions in the third.
For Toronto, it's a complete flip from a season ago where they owned the third quarter outscoring teams by 8.6 points per 100. Another slow start coming out of the halftime break leading to another tough loss for the Raps.
7. Fourth-quarter locking in
If Toronto has struggled in the third they've made up for it in the fourth quarter. The Raps are holding teams to just 102.9 points per 100 in the final period, good for fifth in the league. The Raptors held the Kings to just 22 points in the fourth making it a game late.
If they can figure out the third quarter issues maybe things might turn around this season.
8. Up Next...
The Raptors take on the slumping Orlando Magic. Orlando is just 2-8 in their last ten games.
Catch the game Sunday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. on SN1 and SN Ontario.
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