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Raptors run past Kings in second half

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TORONTO — Picking up their offensive tempo in the second half, the Toronto Raptors picked up a 119-102 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

“That was huge,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said of the increased pace. “That’s something we weren’t doing in the first half.”

After the game was tied 54-54 at halftime, the Raptors took control with a 39-22 third quarter and extended their winning streak to four games.

Guard Lou Williams made sure the Raptors would not let the Kings back into the game by scoring 14 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter.

Former Raptors forward Rudy Gay scored 22 points, 17 in the first half, but that was not enough to prevent the Kings’ seventh loss in a row.

“We did a pretty good job of weathering the storm in the first half,” Kings coach Tyrone Corbin said. “The game was at a pace that we liked. … In the third quarter, I don’t know how many transition points they had, but they had 16 for the game.”

Guard Greivis Vasquez added 18 points for the Raptors, while center Jonas Valanciunas scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Guard Kyle Lowry and guard/forward Terrence Ross each had 13 points for Toronto, with guard/forward DeMar DeRozan adding 12 and forward Patrick Patterson scoring 11.

“I thought the defense set the tempo for our offense,” Casey said. “We started being more aggressive offensively. Physicality was big. It was almost like we were afraid to touch them in the first half, and once we got into them physically, putting our hands on them and touching them, that’s when our offense started clicking.”

Guard Ben McLemore added 17 points for the Kings, reserve forward Carl Landry had 14 points and seven rebounds, center DeMarcus Cousins chipped in with 13 points, and guard Darren Collison had 12.

“Whichever team decided to be the first to play defense was going to win the game,” Cousins said. “And they decided to play defense first. … They had a lot of time.”

The Kings (16-28) returned from a four-day break, as their scheduled game Monday against the Knicks in New York was postponed due to an impending blizzard. The Raptors (31-15) were playing on back-to-back nights after winning at Indiana on Tuesday.

The Raptors led 26-22 after the first quarter with DeRozan scoring seven points. Gay put the Kings ahead 47-46 on a 3-pointer with 3:51 left in the first half.

After dropping behind by three points early in the second half, the Raptors took a 73-66 lead midway into the third quarter on a pair of 3-pointers by Vasquez, who scored 12 points in the quarter.

“Greivis did a good job of making two big shots right out of the locker room after halftime,” Williams said. “I think that is what sparked us. After that, it is contagious when the ball is flying around and everyone is playing together. We were just able to continue it for the whole quarter.”

The Raptors used a 10-0 run late in the third to lead by 18 points with 49.9 seconds left before taking a 93-76 lead into the fourth quarter.

Toronto shot 14-for-21 from the field in the third quarter, including 8-for-10 on 3-point attempts.

“It was too much to overcome,” Corbin said.

The Kings cut the lead to 13 points early in the fourth quarter, but a pair of free throws by Williams with 6:11 to play pushed the Raptors’ lead to 20.

Guard Ray McCallum scored on a driving layup with 3:20 to play as the Kings pulled within 14. Williams made all three free throws after being fouled attempting a 3-pointer with 3:05 to play to get the margin back to 17.

NOTES: The Raptors reached 30 wins before the All-Star Game for the first time in franchise history on Tuesday when they defeated the Indiana Pacers. … Kings F Carl Landry (sprained right wrist) returned to action after missing five games. … The Raptors wore their camouflage uniforms on Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation Night on Wednesday. … Sacramento G Nik Stauskas, a Toronto-area native, had about 200 friends and relatives at Air Canada Centre to watch his first game in Toronto against the Raptors. He was the Kings’ first-round draft choice out of Michigan in 2014. He scored eight points Wednesday… The Raptors will visit the Brooklyn Nets on Friday. The Kings head to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers on Friday.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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