Lowry, Siakam lead Raptors over Kings to stay undefeated at home


Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) drives pass Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (40) in Toronto on Wednesday. (Nathan Denette/CP)

TORONTO — Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors put up another strong offensive performance Wednesday night in a 124-120 victory against the Sacramento Kings.

Their defence wasn’t where they wanted it to be, though.

Sacramento hit 20 three-pointers, tying a franchise record, and pulled within three points in the fourth quarter of a game in which Toronto led by 15 multiple times.

"I don’t know how many threes they had, like 20 something? That’s too much," Siakam said. "We can definitely do a better job on defence and just run them off the three-point line, especially the guys that we know are shooting.

"But yeah, it’s part of it — learning — and obviously it’s better learning with a win. We’re going to go back and look at that and make sure we can get better next game."

Kyle Lowry led the Raptors (5-2) with 24 points and Siakam had 23 points and 13 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.

Serge Ibaka added 21 points — 10 in the fourth quarter alone — OG Anunoby had 18 and Marc Gasol and Fred VanVleet chipped in with 12 points apiece.

Harrison Barnes had 26 points to pace the Kings (2-6). Bogdan Bogdanovic finished with 22 points, including six three-pointers while Buddy Hield had 21 while going 5 for 7 from beyond the arc.

"I don’t know how many of those (three-point shots) were contested, not enough for us," VanVleet said. "A lot of breakdowns, falling asleep, and they did a good job finding guys. … They’ve got explosive guys, you can’t give them too many looks."

A VanVleet layup put Toronto ahead by seven at 122-115 late, but Barnes hit the Kings’ 20th three-pointer with 1:11 left to make it a four-point game.

Toronto led by 14 with three minutes left in the third quarter when an emphatic dunk by Ibaka put them up 91-77, but the Kings put the pressure on late and Toronto ended the quarter up 95-88.

"A lot of miscues but they made shots," Lowry said. "Give them credit, they made every opportunity. A lot of misreads, a lot of miscommunication, but we need to continue to get better and grow as a team.

"We take the win and figure it out and get better."

A three-pointer from Lowry halfway through the first quarter gave the Raptors their first lead at 19-17, and they led 36-23 after 12 minutes.

Sacramento shot just 33 per cent from the field in the first, and that number dipped below 30 early into the second quarter while Toronto capitalized to build its first 15-point lead.

Sacramento improved as the quarter wore on, and a three from Bogdanovic cut the deficit to four points three minutes before halftime. Toronto fought back to take a 66-58 lead at the break.

"I thought the offence was great. … That was one of our better offensive nights," head coach Nick Nurse said.

The Raptors embark on a five-game road trip beginning Friday in New Orleans. They play former teammate Kawhi Leonard and the L.A. Clippers in the third game of that trip next Monday.

They also play the Lakers, Trail Blazers and Mavericks over that span.

"It’s a good test. This is some of the tougher stretches of an NBA year, going on a long road trip like this," VanVleet said. "We don’t have an easy team on this six-game, five-game whatever trip it is. All these teams are playing well.

"We gotta go out there and give our best effort and see where we fall."

The Kings had gotten off to a slow start to the season, dropping the first five games under new head coach Luke Walton. But they came into Wednesday on a two-game win streak.

"I think our team, even though we lost and we’re not happy about that, we showed growth again," Walton said. "I’m happy (with) the direction we’re moving. This is a tough place to play, it’s the NBA champs and they were making a lot of shots. Our guys hung in there, stayed close."

Walton, who was hired by Sacramento two days after the 2018-19 regular season ended, filled out his new coaching staff this off-season by hiring longtime Ryerson Rams coach Roy Rana, and former Raptors assistant Jesse Mermuys.

Wednesday’s game was Rana’s first in his hometown of Toronto as an NBA coach.

NOTES: Toronto-born former Raptor Cory Joseph, who signed with the Kings in the off-season, was honoured with a video tribute in the first quarter. Joseph had 10 points.

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