By Charlie O. Mallonee
The Sacramento Kings kicked off their longest road trip of the season on Friday night in Memphis versus the Grizzlies. It was big night for head coach Dave Joerger, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter as they were returning to the city where they enjoyed great success as members of the Grizzlies basketball organization.
Unfortunately for the Kings, they were not able to make it a great night for Joerger, Z-Bo and Vince by handing the Grizzlies a loss and making the local fans realize what they are missing by not having those three men still involved with their team.
Memphis handed Sacramento their seventh consecutive loss as they beat the Kings 106-88. For the Grizzlies, it was their third win in a row.
The Kings continued their commitment to young player development on Friday night. Sacramento started Justin Jackson, Willie Cauley-Stein, Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Aaron Fox and because it was his first time back in Memphis–veteran Zach Randolph was in the starting five.
The Kings started slow and trailed the Grizz 30-17 after the first 12 minutes. The men from SAC pulled things together in the second period and outscored the hometown team 23-10 to make it a 40-40 game at the half.
As it has been so many times this season, the third quarter was the Kings undoing in this contest. Memphis took control of the game and won the quarter putting up 27 points to Sacramento’s 19.
The Grizzlies seized upon the lead they established in the third quarter and went on to dominate the final period by outscoring the Kings 39-29. Not only was this Sacramento’s seventh consecutive loss but it starts them out 0-1 on this long, tough road trip.
Stars of the Game
- Star of the game for the Grizzlies has to go to former Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore. McLemore came off the bench to play almost 27 minutes and score 21 points against his old mates. He shot six for 13 from the field–including three 3-point baskets. Ben “Mac” went a perfect six for six from the free throw line. McLemore played like a man who had something to prove to other side.
- Dillion Brooks gets a co-star billing for being the high scorer in the game with 22 points. Brooks shot eight for 13 from the floor and three for six from behind the 3-point line. He also was a good thief as he grabbed three steals in his 27-plus minutes of playing time.
- The Kings star of the game is starting point guard De’Aaron Fox who scored a team-high 16 points. Fox hit five of 12 shots from the floor and went a perfect five for five from the free throw line. The rookie point guard also dished out six assists in the contest.
- The co-star tag goes to veteran Vince Carter. Carter played just over 23 minutes and posted 15 points. The Kings “O.G” went five for nine from the floor and all five of his baskets were 3-point conversions. Tomorrow morning he may not be able to walk, but Friday night he was 21 years old again.
- Memphis took good care of the basketball. They committed 13 turnovers (16 Kings points) while they posted 24 assists. That put them right at the target of the 2-to-1 ratio that every coach wants to see.
- The Grizzlies out-rebounded the Kings 49-44
- Memphis outscored Sacramento on the fast break 19-12
- Sacramento turned the ball over 21 times (26 Memphis points) and recorded just 18 assists. That is a negative assist to turnover ratio. That will not help you record a win.
- The Kings shot just 40 percent (32 for 80) for the game. The Grizzlies shot 44.3 percent (39 for 88) from the field. Memphis did not shoot great but it was just enough better than Sacramento to post the win.
- The Kings gave the opposition an advantage in the third quarter again on Friday night. Sacramento cannot have those third quarter let downs and expect to win games.
Sacramento is off until Monday night when they will play the Hornets in Charlotte. Maybe a couple of good practices will help them be ready to face the Hornets and break the losing streak.
Memphis has to get right back to business on Saturday as they have to face the Pelicans in New Orleans. The NBA schedule can be a harsh mistress.