Lowly Kings play host to inferior Raptors

Two of the least successful teams this season square off on Wednesday night when the Sacramento Kings welcome the Toronto Raptors to California's capital.

The Kings have lost three in a row, including two at home. Two of those losses came without the services of Tyreke Evans, the team's third-leading scorer and best assist man.

Evans bumped knees with the Minnesota Timberwolves' Andrei Kirilenko on Nov. 27 and missed the last two games. He practiced on Monday, but his availability for Wednesday is still up to the training staff.

"I think he will be (ready to play), but we can't pinpoint that," said Kings head coach Keith Smart. "We'll see how he responds."

The Kings got walloped by the Los Angeles Clippers their last time out on Saturday, 116-81. L.A. grabbed a 24-point halftime lead, then extended it to 29 after three.

"They played at a level that was incredible. We didn't have what was necessary to play a team like that," Smart said. "The tone was set early in their favor."

During this three-game slide, the Kings averaged 87.3 ppg.

The Raptors don't come into Wednesday night's tilt in much better shape. Toronto has lost seven of its last eight and is 1-10 on the road this season. The Raptors' lone victory away from home came on Nov. 13 in Indiana and the they have three more out west after Wednesday.

The Raptors fell in Denver to the Nuggets on Monday, 113-110. Toronto was down heavy in the fourth quarter, but an 11-0 rally made the game interesting. The Raptors cut it to one, but were down three with 7.9 seconds on the clock. DeMar DeRozan got a decent look at a 3-pointer, but missed.

"We decided to play defense the last few minutes of the game," Raptors head coach Dwyane Casey said. "We just have to do it for longer periods of time."

The Raptors have surrendered over 100 points in four of their last five.

Kyle Lowry led the way against Denver with 24 points, going a perfect 11- for-11 from the foul line. Lowry is one of four players this season to average 15.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 5.0 apg. The other three are stars Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.

New addition Mickael Pietrus has been thrown right in the mix. After signing on Nov. 30, Pietrus has averaged 28.5 minutes per game and even started against the Nuggets in only his second time out with his new squad.

The Kings won last season's only meeting, which was in Toronto. The Raptors last won in Sacramento on Dec. 26, 2008.