With one-point loss to Kings, Raptors lose three in a row for first time this season

By Lori Ewing

TORONTO – De’Aaron Fox scored 27 points on Wednesday to lift the Sacramento Kings to a 124-123 victory over the Toronto Raptors, who lost three in a row for the first time this season.

Fred VanVleet scored a season-high 39 points for the Raptors (13-15), in their fourth loss at Scotiabank Arena. Scottie Barnes had 27 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, while Pascal Siakam had 19 points and Gary Trent Jr. finished with 11 for Toronto, which was without O.G. Anunoby.

Malik Monk had 24 points, while former Raptor Terence Davis chipped in with 19 for Sacramento (15-12), in a heated game that saw the Kings play without coach Mike Brown for most of the second half.

Anunoby, who’s having a career year on the defensive end, missed his first game of the season in Sunday’s 111-99 loss in Orlando with a left hip strain, which is expected to keep him out at least a week. With Thaddeus Young starting for Anunoby, the Raptors used a league-leading 15th different lineup this season.

Coming off a pair of ugly losses in Orlando, the Raptors led by as many as 16 points in the first half, in part because of their ball protection – they had zero turnovers, marking only the second time in franchise history they went a half with no turnovers.

Brown was ejected with 9:09 left in the third quarter when he rushed, irate, at an official after a whistle. A couple of players and assistant coaches held him back. Fox was also slapped with a technical foul. VanVleet scored on all three of the technicals, and then the two free throws for the original call for a 73-64 lead.

Associate head coach Jordi Fernandez coached the rest of the game.

The Raptors led 93-88 to start the fourth, but the Kings, who were coming off a 123-103 loss in Philadelphia the previous night, chipped away at the difference and pulled ahead on Monk’s three-pointer with 7:44 to play. Trailing by four, Barnes drilled a three from in front of the Kings bench to make it a one-point game.

Down again by five in a final minute filled with free throws, VanVleet scored twice in the last 47 seconds to pull Toronto to within two points. Fox had a single free throw with 5.9 left, and then VanVleet’s three-pointer bounced off the rim.

The inconsistent Raptors had neither won nor lost more than two in a row this season before Wednesday.

Davis, who was signed by Toronto during the 2019 summer league and was traded to the Kings almost two years later, drained three three-pointers in the first quarter. But VanVleet’s finger roll with less than a second on the clock capped a 12-4 Raptors run to close the quarter, and Toronto led 31-23 to start the second.

The Raptors stretched their lead to 16 points in the second quarter, but the Kings battled back to take a one-point lead on a three by Keegan Murray 1:17 before halftime. The Raptors took a 62-59 advantage into the break.

Raptors forward Juancho Hernangomez returned after missing four games with a right ankle sprain. The Raptors remain without Precious Achiuwa (ankle) and Otto Portis Jr. (dislocated toe) … Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes was at the game.

The Raptors continue this three-game homestand when they host the Brooklyn Nets on Friday and Golden State Warriors on Sunday.