After losing a franchise-worst eight in a row at home, Sacramento has won two of three at Arco Arena and reason to be confident it can make it three of four.
On Friday night, the slumping Kings will try to improve that home record and avoid a five-game losing streak as they host the Toronto Raptors, whom they’ve beaten 10 straight times at Arco.
The Kings (7-22), who dropped eight consecutive home games from Nov. 11-Dec. 6, are 11-1 all-time at Arco against the Raptors, with the only loss a 103-96 defeat on March 13, 1997. Sacramento recently capped off an 0-4 road trip with a 101-85 loss at San Antonio on Monday, its 17th defeat in the last 20 games.
John Salmons hit 7-of-13 shots and scored a team-high 22 points, but Sacramento made just 39.7 percent of its shots. The Kings also allowed the Spurs to make 52.1 percent of their shots, continuing their season-long struggles on defense as they are 27th in field goal defense at 47.6 percent.
“(The Spurs) were hitting their shots, and then we went through a spurt where we turned the ball over,” said Salmons, who averaged 23.8 points and shot 58.3 percent on the four-game road trip.
Turning the ball over has been a problem all season for the Kings, who are among the league’s worst at 15.9 per game.
Since defeating Minnesota 118-103 in interim coach Kenny Natt’s debut on Dec. 15, Sacramento has averaged just 87.0 points and shot 41.0 percent during its four-game slide.
“Hopefully, we all learned a lesson from a team like that,” Natt said. “Their poise, the way they execute and take care of the basketball. Things like that. They gave us an A, No. 1 lesson on that.”
The Raptors, meanwhile, are coming off one of their best defensive efforts of the season. They held the Los Angeles Clippers to 32.9 percent shooting and matched a season high with 11 steals in a 97-75 victory on Monday to snap a five-game losing streak of their own.
Toronto (11-17) is 1-2 on its current six-game western swing that also makes stops at Portland and Golden State. Offensively, Chris Bosh scored 18 of his team-high 31 points in the final 10:15, making 9-of-15 shots.
“We didn’t really have a lot of points on the floor, but I said, ‘It doesn’t matter. We’re giving the ball to Chris, and they can’t stop him,”’ said Raptors interim coach Jay Triano, who is 3-8 since replacing the fired Sam Mitchell on Dec. 3.
Bosh scored 12 in a row in the fourth quarter, recording his first 30-point game since scoring 30 in a 93-88 win over Atlanta on Nov. 28.
“Coach just told me to keep being aggressive,” said Bosh, who has averaged just 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds—well off his career totals of 19.3 and 9.0, respectively—in four career games in Sacramento. “I saw right away from the beginning of the fourth quarter that he was just going to put the ball in my hands and make plays for myself. So I just wanted to be assertive and attack the rim. Once I started doing that, everything opened up.”
Jermaine O’Neal, who had 23 points, nine boards and five blocks against Los Angeles, is averaging 19.3 points and 10.9 rebounds in his last seven games visiting the Kings.