Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Sacramento Kings
Records: Raptors (10-1); Kings (6-4)
The Sacramento Kings have been one of the league's biggest surprises so far this season.
Since opening the season with back-to-back losses to the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans, the Kings have won six of their last eight. They took down a couple of playoff teams during that stretch with a solid offence (109.8 rating) and a top-10 defence (106.7 rating).
The offence comes primarily from the one-two punch of Buddy Hield and De'Aaron Fox. One of the most accurate 3-point shooters in the NBA, Hield has made 61.3 percent of his catch-and-shoot attempts from deep through 10 games this season. While that number is unsustainable, it might not drop much between now and April considering he made 50.2 percent of those attempts in 80 games last season.
Fox is the one who sets Hield up for most of those opportunities. The two form a natural pairing, with Fox being a speedy point guard who lives in transition and Hield being someone teams have to account for as soon as he crosses halfcourt.
Pay too much attention to one of them and it's usually the other who benefits from it.
The only players on Sacramento who have been set up more by Fox are Nemanja Bjelica and Willie Cauley-Stein.
Bjelica has gotten off to a scorching start this season in making 53.8 percent of his 3-point attempts. Cauley-Stein, meanwhile, is having a career year with averages of 15.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
The combination gives Fox a knockdown shooter at the four and an athletic rim-runner at the five that complement him well in pick-and-rolls.
Kawhi Leonard would certainly help in this matchup, but he's listed as questionable after jamming his foot against the Phoenix Suns on Friday. Serge Ibaka stepped up in his absence against the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz, combining to score 51 points on 23-for-25 shooting from the field.
The Raptors will need more that from Ibaka to finish up their four-game road trip with a perfect record.
They'll also need more of the same from Kyle Lowry, who set a franchise record against the Lakers with eight straight double-figure assist games and continued it the next night with 11 assists against the Jazz.
Lowry's defense will be something to watch as he looks to slow down Fox, who is less than a week removed from a 31-point, 15-assist, 10-rebounds triple-double.
Last Time They Played
Date: Dec. 17, 2017
Score: Toronto Raptors 108, Sacramento Kings 93
Jazz: Garrett Temple - 18 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists
Raptors: DeMar DeRozan - 21 points, 5 assists, 1 rebound
Where To Watch
Time: 10:00 p.m.
TV: TSN 1/4/5
Radio: Sportsnet 590 The FAN
Location: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA