by Charlie O. Mallonee with Jordan Chapin
On New Year’s Eve at the Golden 1 Center, something happened that has not really been heard in the new building. In the third quarter, fans began booing their hometown Kings. They were frustrated with their play and the fact that the Kings were trailing the Grizzlies 90-63.
When the third quarter ended, a large number of fans headed for their cars in order to beat crowds coming into downtown and to get to their New Year’s parties early. Those who left had no hope that their Kings would mount a comeback in the final period. They were right.
Sacramento held the lead only twice in the contest. They took the first lead of the game on a Bogdan Bogdanovic 26-foot three-point basket for the first score of the game. After the Grizzlies tied the game on a Tyreke Evans 3-pointer – the Kings took a 5-3 lead when George Hill scored on a fast break. That would be the last time the home team would hold the lead in the game.
The Grizzlies lead was 14-points at the end of the first quarter and 18 at the half. Memphis built their lead to as many as 32-points in the third period and to a game-high 33-points in the fourth quarter.
After losing to the Warriors 141-128 on Saturday night, the Grizzlies should have been tired and ripe for the pickings in the second game of a back-to-back set on the road. Instead, they seemed pumped up by their performance and used that energy against the Kings for the entire 48-minutes on Sunday afternoon.
Kings Head Coach Dave Joerger Postgame Comment
- Star of the Game: Former King Tyreke Evans came back to Sacramento and showed off his skills in front of the fans who once cheered for him when he wore purple and white. Evans – who has stepped up to really help a team that has been beset by injury and the loss of free agents – scored a game-high 26 points. He hit 10-of-16 shots from the field and 5-of-7 from beyond the 3-point line. Evans also grabbed seven rebounds and five assists. His +/- rating was an impressive plus-23.
- Co-Star: Jarell Martin -third-year player out of LSU. The 6-10 forward put up 11-points in 24-minutes off the bench. He went 5-for-8 from the field and 1-for-1 from 3-point land.
- Co-Star: Deyonta Davis came off the bench to score 10-points and pull down nine rebounds in just over 23-minutes of playing time. The Grizzlies bench scored 64-points in the game.
- Supporting Player Kings fans know: Ben McLemore is now a member of the Grizzlies and he played the entire fourth quarter. Ben Mac scored eight-points making two 3-point baskets and sinking two free throws.
- Star of the Game: Willie Cauley-Stein takes the honors for the Kings on Sunday night. He posted 21-points shooting 8-for-14 from the floor and going 5-for-9 from the free throw line. Cauley-Stein also grabbed eight rebounds and made to two steals in his almost 29-minutes on the court.
- Co-Star: Buddy Hield worked hard in his 30-minutes of playing time off the bench. Hield scored 15-points shooting 5-for-14 for the game and hit 3-of-7 from downtown. He also dished out two assists as well.
- The Grizzlies shot an impressive 53.9-percent (41-for-76) for the game. They hit 14-of-30 (46.7-percent) tries from behind the 3-point line.
- Memphis took advantage of the free throw line converting 18-of-24 opportunities (75-percent).
- The Grizzlies recorded 11 steals in the contest – five more than the Kings
- Blocked shots: Memphis posted eight in the game. Veteran Marc Gasol had four of those blocks in the first quarter of the game.
- The Kings shot 43-percent for the game but only because the shot almost 58-percent in “garbage time” in the fourth quarter when the outcome of the game had already been decided.
- Sacramento did not help themselves at the free throw line. The Kings went to the line 25 times but hit only 13 of those shots (52-percent). They are called free throws for a reason. A team must take advantage of those opportunities.
- The Kings did do a better job working the boards on Sunday. They grabbed 42 rebounds while Memphis recorded 44 rebounds. That was a real improvement over the Phoenix game.
The Kings first game of the new year will be versus the Charlotte Hornets at the Golden 1 Center on Tuesday, January 2. The Hornets are coming in off a 106-98 New Year’s Eve loss to the Clippers. This will be the first meeting of the season between the two teams.
The Grizzlies will wrap up their West Coast swing with a game in Los Angeles versus the Clippers on Tuesday at Staples Center.