Finally, a team the Raptors can beat! Not so fast — the Kings may be 8-25 but they’ve won three of their last five games now that Tyreke Evans is returning to his rookie season form and DeMarcus Cousins is starting to display the talent that led some people to believe he was one of the two best prospects in the 2010 draft.
Cousins will be the Kings’ go-to guy today because Evans is going to sit this one out because of a sprained ankle. This looks like a golden opportunity for Cousins to have his first 30-point game in the NBA. I actually consider today’s matchup between Cousins and Andrea Bargnani to be more interesting than whichever team actually wins this game.
Toronto: Sonny Weems is out, but Jerryd Bayless will play today.
Sacramento: Evans is out as mentioned and Luther Head is probable with some kind of dentistry issue.
1. Do the Raptors have an extra advantage on Sunday games at 1pm ET when under-21 players come to Toronto for the first time and take in our renowned nightlife? I’m looking at you, DeMarcus Cousins.
2. Will Cousins prove to be one of the two best players from the 2010 draft? In his last five games, he averaged 21.8 points, 9 rebounds and 2.8 assists. (On a related note: I ranked Cousins eighth in my January center power rankings.)
3. Who do you think will have more points today: Cousins or Bargnani?
4. Do you think Kings guard Eugene “Pooh” Jeter ever tries to act like he’s related to Derek Jeter to get some action?
5. Samuel Dalembert is reportedly unhappy in Sacramento and would welcome a trade. Would it be worthwhile for the Raptors to trade for him just so we could enjoy all the various ways that Leo Rautins would disparage him?
Start time: 1:00 PM ET
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Linas Kleiza, Joey Dorsey, Andrea Bargnani
Sacramento: Beno Udrih, Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi, Jason Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins
Today’s pregame song is “The Distance” by Sacramento band Cake. I’ll probably use them a lot for Kings games because they’ve got a bunch of good songs and it’s not like they have a lot of hometown competition.