Raptors Start Fast But Fade Away.

So as I mentioned this morning the Raptors record in Sac-Town sucks. Only 2 wins in 14 tries for the Raptors at Arco. A tough task with Tyreke Evans the Rookie of the Year and in any other year a leading candidate to be Rookie of the Year DeMarcus Cousins. Also as mentioned this morning this is the Kings home opener. Not as much the cowbell crazy place it once was but still a tough building to play in given the circumstances. Raptors have been in Cali since Saturday so no excuses. Raptors had a great win Friday and should be well rested to start this trip.

So with that said off we go from the Cali Capitol. Reggie Evans gets 2 offensive boards and the bucket. Raps after giving up a bucket roll for 7 straight points and slams from Kleiza and Bargnani, who will not be in the dunk contest anytime soon but Raps lead 9-2 early. Bargnani hits a 3 and has an early 8 points and Raps lead is 14-5. Kings go on a 5-0 run but then a break for the Raps as Tyreke Evans picks up his second foul. Demar with a block and a score the other way and Raps lead 20-12 and have never trailed to this point. Is this the year the Raptors follow through on their promise to play better D? Maybe it is... 23-14 with 2:42 left in the first. Demar has 10, Bargs has 10 ...28-14 Raptors.

Jose a drive and score and 1. The Raptors can do no wrong in this first quarter. Reggie Evans has 10 rebounds in the first quarter. That is just plain insane. The Raptors have quieted the crowd to a whisper and lead 33-16 after 1.

Kings start the second on a 7-2 run and make this game a little closer. Kings get called for a charge and they get teched up for disputing the call and that broke Kings momentum. Jose pushes the ball leads to Andersen Jam and Raps lead 41-26. The beat goes on for the Raptors as the bench is keeping this lead with score 49-36 with 5:15 to go in half. At the end of it all Raps take an 11 point lead to the half shooting 58%. Andrea has 17 points and Demar 15 points along with Reggie Evans 6 points and 12 rebounds. Raptors lead at halftime 62-51.

So the Raps had a good first half. Can they finish it off here in the 2nd? A good start as Bargnani hits a long 2 to open the scoring. Klieza a 3 ball and Raps keep the hot shooting going. More good news as Tyreke Evans is not on the floor and is suffering with an upset stomach. The Raptors were taking advantage and with no Evans built up a 77-61 lead. Finally that was enough to get Evans off the bench. It would lead to instant results with a Kings score. The Kings after falling behind and getting beat up by Reggie Evans stormed back to get the lead to single digits at 83-75. Kings would close to with in 5 then a little retro Jose Calderon with a clutch 3. Raps got a steal and Barbosa missed a chip shot that would have got lead back to 10. Raptors would have to settle for a 86-78 lead after 3.

Kings come out and score the first 5 points of the 4th and suddenly this was a 3 point lead and the closest it had been since the very early going of this one. Teams trade 3 pointers and the lead remains at 3. Raptors are on the ropes and trying to hang on for dear life. The Kings would tie it with 6:42 to go at 93. a Bargnani 2 point answered with a Kings 3 and their first lead of the night at 96-95. DeRozan draws a foul missed both at the line but Reggie to the rescue with board 19 and it leads to Kleiza 3. Raps back on top 98-96 and Cousins would tie it at 98. But after that picked up fouls 4 and 5 in short order. The Kings Evans gets the drive and score plus a foul..but he missed the and 1. Kings lead it 100-98. Bargnani despite a great scoring night, late in this one was getting bullied by Cousins who was playing with 5 fouls. Kings were taking advantage and pulling away as the Raptors looked out of gas. Bargs may not be able to rebound a beach ball but he can hit a 3 and nailed a big one late to make it 109-106. Kings turnover and Raps basketball. DeRozan a big dunk with 13.3 to go Raps down 1. Raps forced to foul with 12.2 second left. Kings make the free throws and Raps can tie with a 3.

Raptors inbounded the ball to Bargs who passed to Klezia who passed on trying a 3 for the drive to the hoop and left it short and the Raps could not come up with the ball and that was that. Kings come back from a long way down to dig out a 111-108 win.

A lot of positive things in the boxscore but a W is not one of them. Bargs had 28 points but the fact Cousins out battled him down the stretch made that seem kind of pointless. Bargnani had 2 blocks which is nice and 2 rebounds which is a joke. Reggie Evans had 19 though and as I tweeted during the game, is like a mother that eats for two, Reggie rebounds for 2. While Demar DeRozan happy to be back in Cali ties his career high with 24 points. Yet with all of those good things the Raptors still lose.

When you look at this critically the Raps really only won the first quarter and the Kings won the other 3. Full marks to Evans and Cousins in this one. I said those would be the key guys in this one and what do you know they were just that. Raps now face the tough task of the Utah Jazz who took apart a much better team then Toronto, when the creamed the Thunder the other day. After that the Lakers and that Kobe guy. Raps lone realistic shot left on this trip for a win might be Portland, who earlier in the night I saw some of their game with the Bulls and they looked pretty awful. Entertainment value was there, but like I have been saying to whoever will listen, that does not make it fun. Losing is just not fun, especially on these west coast trips when you stay up late to watch them.

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