Toronto Raptors vs. Sacramento Kings - 12/17/17 NBA Pick, Odds, and Prediction

TORONTO ON- APRIL 5- Raptors' coach Dwane Casey chats with Kyle Lowry in the first half during first half action between the Toronto Raptors and Charlotte

Yes, you can point to the fact that the Raptors were shorthanded with Serge Ibaka out with a sore left knee; yes, Sunday afternoon games have a tendency to be played at a more lethargic pace to start with; and yes, it's kind of hard to get up for a game with the Kings - even with Carter in the building.

With any ill feelings from that departure long since dissipated, the home fans treated Carter to a standing ovation in the final minutes.

Norman Powell led the second unit with 14 points on 5-5 shooting, while Jakob Poeltl chipped in nine and Fred VanVleet added seven points, six rebounds and four assists.

The Raptors reportedly were interested in him last summer, and Carter, who inspired a generation of young Canadian players in his days as a superstar in Toronto, sounded Sunday like he would welcome a return engagement.

ABOUT THE RAPTORS (19-8): DeRozan made it easy for Lowry to reach double figures in assists on Friday by going 14-of-19 from the floor en route to 31 points. "I heard about it". It's supposed to happen, I think. "I've had a lot of people say it's supposed to happen so now I guess I have to believe it". "Somehow, whether it's one day or something, it'll happen".

"I still love being here and there's nothing like it", Carter said. I can say that now.

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Bogdanovic and Garrett Temple each scored 18 points and Hill had 16 for the Kings, who are 4-13 away from home, tied with Atlanta for the most road losses in the league.

The 108-93 score doesn't tell the full story though, as Sacramento gave Toronto all it could handle for the better part of three quarters Sunday afternoon.

On the other side, Carter was given the start by his friend and head coach Dave Joerger, his first as a member of the Kings.

DeRozan is a dynamic offensive player who ranks 16th in the National Basketball Association in scoring with over 23 points on a nightly basis, despite not being a potent three-point shooter.

Unfortunately for Casey, Toronto has made a habit this season of playing with fire and falling short just as it seems it will formally introduce itself as one of the NBA's elite.

It's been who the Raptors are when Vince Carter - who, in potentially his final appearance at Air Canada Centre finished with a measly four points and five personal fouls - was known as "Half-man, half-amazing", when Chris Bosh was swinging his dreads around like nobody was looking and, now, as DeRozan and Lowry lead the club to the most success it's ever had. The Kings are 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings in Toronto, 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings and the underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.

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