Kings (10-34) at Raptors (17-28)
Scoring: Kings 13th (98.9), Raptors 20th (97.4).
Shooting: Kings tied for 24th (44.4 percent), Raptors tied for 10th (45.9).
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (107.6), Raptors 18th (99.7).
Shooting defense: Kings tied for 28th (47.7 percent), Raptors tied for 20th (45.8).
Rebound differential: Kings 28th (minus-4), Raptors 26th (minus-3.2).
The links: Raptors coverage in the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun.
The almanac: On this date in 1960, Wilt Chamberlain set a rookie record by scoring 58 points. He tied the mark less than a month later. On this date in 1986, Manute Bol of the Washington Bullets blocked 15 shots in a 111-103 win over the Hawks, two shy of Elmore Smith's league record. On this date in 1988, Rickey Green of the Jazz scored the NBA's 5,000,000th point on a 24-footer at the end of the third quarter of the 119-96 victory over the Cavaliers. On this date in 1998, voting totals for the All-Star game were announced with Michael Jordan of the Bulls receiving the most support for a record ninth time. Also, Kobe Bryant of the Lakers became the youngest starter in history.
*You never know with so-called retirements these days, so Mourning could change his mind and play after all or reconsider a year from now and decide he actually does have a second-half charge left. But if this really is it, one of the star-crossed careers of the era is over: a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and seven-time All-Star who returned from a kidney transplant and advanced his image as one of the warriors of the game, but who also refused to play after being traded to the Raptors in 2004. He is likely a Hall of Famer, but there could be some good debate.
*Former Sheldon High star DeMarcus Nelson has yet to find a new home after being cut by the Warriors on Jan. 5 and apparently will wait it out for a chance in the NBA rather than go the D-League route. Nelson can't wait too long -- he needs to be in front of people, not playing the patience game for the phone to ring, and he did get good reviews when Golden State sent him to its minor-league affiliate in Bakersfield. Besides, the time for movement at the end of the bench passed a couple weeks ago, when the contracts of all players on a roster became guaranteed. Some got waived just to take a team off the financial hook, some were re-signed to 10-day deals soon after and some were replaced, but that was when the player-go-round was moving fastest for someone looking for a landing spot.
*The latest way the Kings are fundamentally flawed on defense: communication. It was all right there in the Jan. 9 loss to Miami. John Salmons got beat off the dribble far from the basket by Dwyane Wade, leading to a Wade drive and critical hoop, because Salmons had to keep checking over his shoulder to see when / if a screen was coming rather than hearing it from another defender. Wade waited for the next glance and pounced. Francisco Garcia got flattened around midcourt the same game while chasing a Heat ballhandler at high speed because no one on the Kings called out the pick.
*The follow-up to the Monday blog on Marcus Williams of the Warriors saying close friend Brandon Jennings is frustrated after turning pro in Italy rather than attending college is Jennings confirming to the New York Times that, yes, he is having issues. "I've gotten paid on time once this year," Jennings told the Times. "They treat me like I'm a little kid. They don't see me as a man." He will be eligible for the 2009 draft and no one expected him to stay in Europe more than the one season anyway.
*The Trail Blazers threatening to sue any team that signs Darius Miles, a move that would put Miles back on Portland's salary cap in a technicality and greatly reduce its chances to sign a major free agent in the summer, was good stare-down drama and potentially interesting as a legal case, but laughable as a mean glare. NBA owners are millionaires many times over from building and / or running businesses and have probably lost count of the times they've been taken to court. Not always with such a public warning, probably never by someone with the deeeeeeeeep pockets of the Trail Blazers' Paul Allen, but most of his 29 peers wouldn't scare that easy. The Grizzlies signed Miles.
*Welcome to the hope portion (at last) of the Warriors schedule. Monta Ellis moved well Friday in his season debut, an important development because he's a speed player returning from ankle surgery, and Golden State is in a stretch of 17 of 23 games at home. The only trips in February are one-gamers to Phoenix and Los Angeles, both easy travel, a little more than two weeks apart. On the other hand, the seven games after hosting the Clippers tonight are against the Suns twice and the Mavericks, Hornets, Rockets, Spurs and Jazz once each.
*You'd better hope the Kings can handle the speculation that will come their way leading to the Feb. 19 trade deadline. It would be terrible if they were distracted and played without focus and passion.