The Sacramento Kings hope playing on their home court resolves some recent issues when they catch the visiting Toronto Raptors on the second night of a back-to-back Friday.
The Kings have lost five of their past six games, including three of four on a just-completed trip to San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Detroit and Minnesota.
They are coming off a 107-97 defeat to the Timberwolves on Wednesday, a result that did not sit well with veteran big man Tristan Thompson.
“We gotta understand that if we’re trying to get somewhere this team hasn’t been in over a decade or darn near two decades, it’s the little things that are going to put you in a position to be there,” he said. “It doesn’t guarantee you it — nothing is guaranteed in life — but it puts you in position.
“What guys gotta understand is those little things over the course of 48 minutes, the ‘my bad’ after ‘my bad’ after ‘my bad’ is what is going to cost you a game in the fourth quarter and the reason why we got a loss.”
Thompson was more disappointed based on the level of the opposition.
“The reality is this road trip should have been a 4-0,” he said. “The teams that we played against …
“OKC, they don’t want to win games. They want to rebuild. … The Spurs, they have all young guys. Do they want to win games? Maybe, sure. But do they really want to be in the playoffs? Probably not; probably want a top-10 pick. … Timberwolves, they’ve got names, but are they trying to win? Roll the dice and see what happens, figure out their roster. … Detroit? They do not want to win; they want another top-three, top-five pick.
“Three out of four teams really didn’t want to win those games. They’re probably (upset) that they won those games.”
No doubt, Thompson looks at Toronto as another beatable team, especially with the Raptors coming off a 119-103 loss at Utah on Thursday night in which they used four of their starters upward of 30 minutes.
The loss was the third straight and sixth in the last seven games for Toronto, which has opened a 12-day, six-game trip with defeats at Portland and Utah.
It doesn’t get any easier after this, with Golden State, Memphis and Indiana sandwiching Thanksgiving on the road.
Even after recently getting Pascal Siakam back from shoulder surgery, the Raptors head to Sacramento without OG Anunoby (hip pointer) and Precious Achiuwa (right shoulder tendinitis).
“It seems like we’ve had a minimum of three or four guys out for every game this year,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “It’s a little frustrating. What do you do?”
The Raptors haven’t lost at Sacramento since November 2016. Their four wins since have been by 15, four, five and last January by 21 points behind Fred VanVleet’s 34-point effort.
The Kings snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Raptors with a 126-124 win at Toronto in a rematch last January. Harrison Barnes led Sacramento with 26 points.