Opening a road trip on a losing note is never good. Managing to blow a big lead on the way to losing is even worse.
The Toronto Raptors blew a 16-point lead midway through the third quarter as the Sacramento Kings came away with a thrilling 111-108 victory on Monday night at Arco Arena.
Tyreke Evans led the way for the Kings, finishing the game with 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
For Toronto, Andrea Bargnani scored a game-high 28 points, while DeMar DeRozan finished with 24 and Reggie Evans hauled in 19 rebounds.
The game was the first of a four-game tour of the West Coast that Toronto will be embarking on.
The Raps have struggled historically during early Western Conference road trips and their late collapse did nothing to disregard the team’s past.
The third quarter would open with the two squads trading baskets until Toronto managed to pump its lead up to 16. Sacramento would battle back and cut the deficit to 10 again, 79-69, with an 8-2 run with around 3:30 to go in the quarter. From there, the Kings would shrink Toronto’s lead to 86-78 after three quarters.
During the final frame, the Kings would tie the game at 93-93 at 6:41 on a DeMarcus Cousins layup, and then take a 96-95 advantage with 5:56 to remaining after a desperation three-pointer from Omri Casspi managed to find the bottom of the net.
With the score tied at 98 moments later, the Kings finally took over, going on an 11-1 run to finish off the Raptors.
A Bargnani three, along with an emphatic DeRozan drunk brought Toronto to within one with 13 seconds left, but Kings point guard Beno Udrih hit both of his free throws to conclude the scoring.
Great first half for Raptors
Coming out of the gate, the Dinos played with great energy, pouncing on a hapless-looking Kings club by attacking the rim and being very active on the defensive end. DeRozan and Bargnani led the way, scoring 10 points apiece while Evans managed to grab 10 rebounds in just the one quarter of work. Toronto finished the frame leading 33-16.
Sacramento played a much different game in the second quarter with some major help from reining rookie of the year Tyreke Evans, who scored 14 points in the quarter and looked unstoppable on his drives to the rim. Fortunately for the Raptors, their offence couldn’t be stopped.
The first half ended with Toronto up 62-51 as the club shot close to 60 per cent from the field.
Up next for Toronto will be a matchup against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night (9 p.m. ET) at EnergySolutions Arena.