by Charlie O. Mallonee
The Sacramento Kings kicked off a two-game mini road trip in Memphis on Friday night as they went up against the rival Grizzlies. Why are they the rival Grizzlies you ask? Because Kings head coach Dave Joerger was the head man in Memphis before he became “the man” in SAC. That makes the Grizzlies an automatic rival for the Kings and a must win for the men in “royal purple” every time they play the team from the city that “Elvis made famous”.
Memphis (9-5) showed the basketball world why they call the FedEx Forum “the Grind House” as they defeated the Kings 112-104. The Grizzlies opened up an 11 point lead just before halftime and they managed to keep that lead throughout the second half all the way to the final buzzer. Sacramento would make mini-runs and close up the score, but the Griz would then “bump and grind” their way back to a 10 point plus lead.
Memphis used a combination of power basketball under the rim, strong rebounding on offense and well-timed 3-point shooting to beat the Kings (8-7). Both teams had four of their five starters score in double figures.
It was veteran – rookie combo that led Memphis to victory
Jaren Jackson Jr. – the fourth overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Michigan State – was the leading scorer in the game with 27 points. The 6-foot-11 power forward hit on 11-of-16 shots from the floor including one 3-point basket. The big rookie also converted 4-of-6 opportunities from the free throw line. Jackson added six rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots in starring effort for the Grizzlies.
The key player for the Grizzlies was Marc Gasol – who is in his 11th season with Memphis. Gasol posted 19 points shooting 7-for-12 overall and hitting 2-of-6 from behind the arc. The Grizzlies big man made it a double-double game by grabbing 15 rebounds. Six of those rebounds came off the offensive glass helping to set up second-chance opportunities.
Sacramento was paced by the usual suspects
De’Aaron Fox was the Kings, high scorer, and only player to record a double-double in the contest. Fox recorded 23 points and dished out 10 assists in the game. The second-year player shot 8-for-17 from the field but went just 1-for-5 from long range. Fox took advantage of free throw opportunities sinking 6-of-8 chances from the line.
Buddy Hield put 16 points in the book by hitting 50-percent of his shots (6-for-12). Hield buried 2-of-4 3-point attempts. He also added four rebounds, three assists, two steals and one blocked shot.
Bogdan Bogdanovic came off the bench to put up 12 points in just under 24 minutes of play. He hit 5-of 10 shots from the field and scored on 2-of-4 3-point opportunities. Bogi also added two assists as he continues to look stronger in each game since returning after an off-season knee procedure.
Other notable Kings performances: Shumpert 12 points, Cauley-Stein 11 points, Bjelica 8 and Bagley 7. No doubt MBIII would have liked to have performed better versus his fellow draft class member Jackson, Jr., but he will have another chance this season to match up against the number four draft selection.
“We ran into a very good team. They were focused and ready to go. After they played at our place a couple a weeks ago, we knew this was coming. They were locked in. They were physical. They got after us. They forced 21 turnovers which is way too many for us. Mike (Conley) and Marc (Gasol) set the tone for the game. They’re playing well.
It’s all in the numbers
- Memphis outscored SAC 54-42 in the paint
- The Grizzlies won the battle of 2nd Chance Points 15-8
- The Kings outran the Griz scoring 37 Fast Break Points to just 13 for Memphis
- Memphis shot 50.6% (43/85) for the game
- The Kings had 23 assists and 21 turnovers (17 Memphis points)
- 24 – the number of Free Throw Attempts each team had in the contest
Up next for SAC
The Kings will wrap up this quick two-game road trip on Saturday night in Houston (7-7). Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 PM PT.