Kings come up just short in their battle with the Raptors on Wednesday night, 124-120

TOR score
Graphic: @NBCS

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings (2-6) went from having to play the worst team in the NBA East on Sunday night in the New York Knicks to having to face the defending NBA World Champion Toronto Raptors (5-2) on Wednesday night. While it is true the Raptors no longer have Kawhi, they still have a very competitive team that will go to the playoffs.

The Kings could have easily phoned this game in and saved their energy for the final game of the road trip in Atlanta. They chose not to do that. Luke Walton’s team showed up and played hard. They kept the outcome of the game in question until the final seconds of the contest. When the final buzzer sounded, the Raptors won the game 124-120, but they knew that Kings came very close to stealing this game on the road.

The Kings made it rain

Sacramento tied a franchise record by hitting 20 3-point baskets on Wednesday night. The Kings went 20-for-44 from “downtown” (45.5%). It was almost like the Raptors were daring them to shoot from behind the arc.

Buddy Hield just missed a 3-point shot with just seconds left that might have become a four-point opportunity that potentially could have tied the game. Hield went 5-for-7 from long range in the game.

Bogdan Bogdanovic led the Kings in 3-point scoring connecting on 6 of 11 attempts from behind the 3-point line.

Sluggish start

The Kings had a slow start in the game as they allowed the Raptors to outscore them 36-23 in the first quarter. Toronto shot 77.8% (14-for-18) from the floor including six 3-point buckets in the opening 12 minutes.

That slow start meant the Kings had to expel a lot of energy to get themselves back into the game in the second quarter. That was energy they would not have late in the game to help them overcome the Raptors lead.

Battle for points in the paint

While the Kings won the 3-point shooting battle, the Raptors owned the scoring down low in the paint. Toronto outscored the Sacramento 52-32 in the paint.

By being able to score in the paint, the Raptors were able to take high-percentage shots. They finished the game shooting 55.1% from the field (43-for-78) with 26 of those baskets being hit in the paint.

Pascal Siakam (23 pts), Serge Ibaka (21 pts), OG Anunoby (18 pts) and Marc Gasol (12 pts) were just too much of a force for the Kings defense to overcome. Siakam made it a double-double night by adding 13 rebounds.

Battle of the boards

Sacramento outrebounded the Toronto 43-37. Twelve of the Kings rebounds came on offense which allowed them to win the battle for 2nd chance points 13-2.

Richaun Holmes and Buddy Hield led the Kings rebounding efforts with eight each.

Focus on the Kings

Harrison Barnes scored a game-high 26 points on Tuesday night. He shot 7-for-15 in the game including four 3-point baskets and converting 8 of 10 from the free throw line.

Supporting cast

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic put 22 points in the scorebook by hitting 7 of 14 field goal attempts.
  • Buddy Hield connected on 7 of 16 shots (5 3-point baskets) for a 21 point night.
  • De’Aaron Fox had a 21 point, nine assists and seven-rebound night. He did have to battle foul trouble early in the game.

Up next

The Kings wrap up their three-game road trip on Friday night in Atlanta (3-4)

The Raptors begin what their radio crew called a “murderous” five-game road on Friday night in New Orleans.

 

It was an ugly win, but it was a win: Kings beat Grizzlies 102-99 Friday night

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Graphic@SacramentoKings

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings held the lead over the Memphis Grizzlies just twice in their game on Friday night at the Golden 1 Center. SAC took the first lead of the game 2-0 and would not lead again until there was just 1:17 remaining to play in the game when they would retake the lead over the Grizzlies 98-97.

The Kings (17-15) would hold on to win the game 103-99 to hand the Grizzlies (16-16) their fifth consecutive loss. The victory snapped a two-game losing streak by Sacramento.

Memphis brought their “Grind House D” to SAC

GrizSac Team win
Photo@SacramentoKings

The Grizzlies love to slow the game down and get physical with their opponents under the bucket. The “new” Kings want to get out and run the floor in order to drive the opposition into exhaustion.

On Friday night, the Grizzlies controlled the pace. Memphis set the pace and forced the Kings to play the Grizzlies style of basketball until the fourth quarter. In the final 12-minutes, Sacramento changed the dynamic.

Memphis held the Kings to a field goal percentage of just 37.5% (33/88). It is incredibly rare for an NBA to walk away with a victory when they shoot under 40% in a game.

Sacramento turned in a respectable performance from behind the 3-point line. They hit 15-of-41 attempts from downtown (36.6%). The Kings also had a decent night at the charity stripe, converting 21-of-29 free throw attempts (72.4%).

The Grizzlies outscored the Kings in the paint 34-32. Sacramento won the battle of second chance points 10-8. To no one’s surprise, the Kings won the battle for fastbreak points 21-13.

Memphis outrebounded the Kings 44-42.

Key stats that tell a big story

GrizSac FlyingFox
Flying Fox @SacramentoKings

The Kings committed just 10 turnovers in the contest and those miscues resulted in 16 points for the Grizzlies.

Memphis recorded 18 turnovers that resulted in 27 points for Sacramento. The Griz will look at the turnovers and cringe for some time to come because they may well have cost them the game.

The Kings also won the battle of steals. SAC made 10 thefts in the game while MEM was able to steal the ball just seven times.

Key Performers

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Photo@SacramentoKings

Kings

  • Buddy Hield was the game’s leading scorer posting 28 points for the game. He shot just 9-for-24 from the field, but hit 6-of-13 from 3-point land. Hield also added eight rebounds.
  • De’Aaron Fox recorded 14 points and eight assists for Sacramento in the victory. Fox also made five steals in the game. His defense in the final period was a real difference maker.
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic also scored 14 points in the contest but shot just 3-for-9 from the floor. However, all three of his baskets were 3-point buckets. Bogdanovic also went 5-for-8 from the free throw line.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein recorded a double-double in Kings victory. He scored 12 points and grabbed 13 rebounds versus the Grizzlies. He also dished out four assists.
  • Iman Shumpert and Nemanja Bjelica each scored 11 points in the game.

Grizzlies

  • Mike Conley was the Grizzlies leading scorer with 23 points. Conley hit a career-high seven 3-point baskets in the game.
  • Former King Garrett Temple added 17 points for Memphis.
  • Marc Gasol put 12 points and eight rebounds in the book.
  • All five of the Memphis starters scored in double figures.

Up Next

The Kings will wrap up their 3-game homestand on Sunday afternoon when they will host Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Grizzlies travel to Los Angeles and will face the Lakers on Sunday.

Close but no cigar for Kings in Memphis; Grizzlies beat SAC 112-104 Friday night

Griz Pix
Photo: @NBA

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

Griz alt pic
Photo: @memgrizz

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

Griz start 5
Photo: @SacramentoKings

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.

Joerger’s perspective

“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.

 

New Year’s Eve Nightmare as Kings lose to the Grizzlies 114-96

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Skal Labissiere takes it to the hoop against the Grizzlies Photo: Jordan Chapin SportsRadioService.com

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

Top Performers

Grizzlies

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Tyreke Evans scored a game-high 26 points versus the Kings Photo: Jordan Chapin SportsRadioService.com

  • 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.

Kings

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Willie Cauley-Stein was the Kings leading scorer with 21-points Photo: Jordan Chapin SportsRadioService.com

  • 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.

Team Stats

Memphis (12-25)

  • 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.

Sacramento (12-24)

  • 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.

Up Next

Kings

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.

Grizzlies

The Grizzlies will wrap up their West Coast swing with a game in Los Angeles versus the Clippers on Tuesday at Staples Center.

 

Kings lose in Memphis; 1 down 7 to go on key road trip

 

memphis randolph.jpgby Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings started an eight game road trip in Memphis on Friday night with a 107-91 loss to the Grizzlies. The Kings (16-26) have now lost four games in a row and have fallen to 11th place in the Western Conference but are just 1.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets who are in eighth place – the final playoff qualifying position.

As the Kings struggle to figure out how to win games without the injured Rudy Gay (Achilles tendon) for the rest of the season, the team must also deal with the fact they are still in playoff contention. At this point, it is almost appears that no team really wants to take control of eighth place in the West.

The Kings started the game strong in Memphis – something that this team has not been doing recently. They outscored the Grizzlies 23-15 in the first behind seven points from DeMarcus Cousins and Ty Lawson’s six points. The Kings also played strong defense holding Memphis to just 30.4-percent shooting including going 0-for-7 from beyond the 3-point line.

The situation changed dramatically in the second quarter as the Grizzlies came alive behind the play of Vince Carter who scored 11 points off the bench. Memphis shot 12-for-22 (54.5-percent) from the floor and hit 3-of-7 from long range. The Grizzlies outscored the Kings 34-19 and took a 49-42 lead with them to the locker room at halftime.

The Grizzlies came out in the third quarter ready play just like they had in the second period. In the third, it was Marc Gasol who led the Memphis attack with 15 points. Zach Randolph put up seven points in less than three minutes on the floor. The Grizzlies outscored Sacramento 34-22 as DeMarcus Cousins was limited to just three points in the period. At the end of three quarters, Memphis held a 84-63 lead.

After his team’s lackluster third quarter performance, Dave Joerger sat his starters for the fourth quarter and inserted Willie Cauley-Stein and Ben McLemore. Later in the fourth, rookies Malachi Richardson and Skal Labissiere saw playing time. The Kings did outscore the Grizzlies 27-24 in the final period.

Joerger’s postgame analysis

  • It was a tough game
  • We didn’t play really well
  • We didn’t make shots
  • We threw the ball away
  • Memphis has a really good team -players

Stars of the game

Grizzlies

Sacramento Kings v Memphis Grizzlies
Game-high leading scorer Marc Gasol Photo: NBAE

  • Marc Gasol scored a game-high 28 points on Friday night shooting 9-for-19 from the floor. He shot 3-for-6 from 3-point range and was a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line. Gasol recorded eight rebounds and handed out four assists.
  • Zach Randolph was a star of the bench which is really no surprise. He posted a double-double scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in just 23-minutes of playing time

Kings

  • It will come as no surprise that DeMarcus Cousins was the Kings star of the game. Sacramento with Rudy Gay lost for the remainder of the season is even more dependent on Cousins than they were three days ago. He led the Kings in scoring with 19 points and made it a double-double by recording 10 rebounds. The oddity was Cousins scored 16 points in the first half and just three point in the third quarter. He did not play in the fourth quarter by coach’s decision. Cousins also picked up his 14th technical foul in the second quarter of the game. That becomes very serious because technical foul number 16 results in a one-game suspension with additional suspensions for every two technical fouls after that 16th tech.

Co-stars

Kings

Sacramento Kings v Memphis Grizzlies
Ty Lawson working hard on defense Photo: NBAE

  • Garrett Temple made the start at forward and made an effort to fill the gap left by the loss of Rudy Gay. Temple put up 14 points and hauled in three rebounds while distributing three assists.
  • Ty Lawson worked hard on the second unit again on Friday night. He scored 13 points and dished out five assists. Lawson has really become a dependable “go to ” player off the bench for the Kings.

Grizzlies

Sacramento Kings v Memphis Grizzlies
Mike Conley is a key player for the Grizzlies Photo: NBAE

  • Mike Conley showed again why he is such a key to the Grizzlies success working at the point by scoring 16 points and distributing eight assists. He also recorded eight rebound.
  • Tony Allen recorded a double-double at guard for Memphis against the Kings. He scored 13 and pulled down 10 rebounds. Five of those rebounds were offensive boards which kept possessions alive.

Key stat of the game

The Grizzlies out-rebounded the Kings 58-35. More importantly, 15 of the Memphis rebounds were offensive rebounds which extended possession and created second chance scoring opportunities. The Grizzlies posted 18 second-chance points to just four for Sacramento.

Up next on the schedule

  • The Kings moved on to Chicago were they will play the Bulls in the second game of a back-to-back set on the road. They will also face former teammate Rajon Rondo.
  • The Grizzlies are also back in action on Saturday as they host the high powered Houston Rockets in the FedEx Center “Grind House”.

The Memphis Grizzlies overcome a 24-point deficit to stun the Warriors in overtime 128-119

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) drives past Memphis Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol (33) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

by Jerry Feitelberg

Oakland-The Memphis Grizzlies, down by 24 points 88-64 midway through the third quarter, stopped the Warriors cold in the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies never led at all in the entire 48 minutes of regulation. They tied the game at 2 in the first quarter and trailed until they tied the game at 111 at the end of the second half. The Grizzlies owned the five -minute overtime period to send the Dubs down to their sixth loss of the year by a score 128-119.

The Warriors lost to Memphis in Memphis on December 10th. The Dubs lost that game by 21 points and were gunning to avenge that loss Friday night at the Oracle Arena.They knew the Grizzlies like to slow the game down. The Grizzlies love to play defense as they are tied for second in that department. The Dubs started well. Steph Curry, playing more aggressively, scored 17 in the first quarter to put the Dubs up by five 34-29. They continued to play well in the second quarter too. The Warriors scored 33 and held the Grizzlies to 28 and led by 12 at the half 67-55. Steph had 19, Klay Thompson knocked down 15, and Kevin Durant added 16.

The Warriors looked unstoppable in the third quarter as they finished the period with a 19-point lead. Steph made four 3-point shots, and the crowd was going wild. No one in the arena could believe what was about to transpire in the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies shut down the Warrior offense. The Warriors went almost nine minutes without a field goal. They made just two buckets in the entire fourth quarter. They scored a total of just 13 points while the Grizzlies outscored them by nineteen to tie the game and send the contest into overtime. The Warriors missed seven free throws in the final period of play to help seal their fate. The Grizzlies dominated play with a smothering defense and were able to get back into the game behind the play of their big men, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Point guard Michael Conley was a force and Troy Daniels made four 3-pointers that helped the Grizzlies to victory. The Grizzlies owned the overtime period. They took the lead for the first time 113-111 and never trailed to win 128-119.

Game Notes- The Warriors turned the ball over just six times in the first half. The second half was a different story as they committed nine turnovers and the Grizzlies were able to capitalize on those mistakes. With the loss, the Warriors are now 31-6 for the year while the Grizzlies,- under first-year head coach Dave Fizdale, improve to 23-16. The Grizzlies now are 2-0 against Golden State this season.

All the Warrior starters were in double figures. Steph led the team with 40 points, six assists, and 4 rebounds. Kevin Durant had a double-double with his 27 points and 13 rebounds. Klay had 17, Draymond 11 points and 8 boards. Zaza Pachulia scored 10, and Shaun Livington tallied 7. Michale Conley paced Memphis with 27 and 12 assists. Zach Randolph, coming off the bench, had a double-double. Randolph scored a season-high 27 to go along with 6 assists and 11 rebounds. Marc Gasol chipped in with 23.The Grizzlies scored 56 points in the paint, and they had 29 assists. The Dubs were held to just 23 assists.

The Warriors will have 48 hours to reflect on the loss. They probably played the worst quarter of basketball of the season Friday night.

The Warriors travel to Sacramento to face the Kings at the new Golden 1 Arena on Sunday. Game time is at 6 pm.

Grizzlies ruin New Year’s Eve for the Kings with a 112-98 win

 

Memphis Grizzlies v Sacramento Kings
Cousins takes the shot Photo: NBAE

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Sacramento — The New Year’s Eve afternoon game between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Sacramento Kings did not become the big holiday celebration the King’s fans were hoping for when they filled the building to capacity. The Kings had defeated the Grizzlies in Memphis earlier in the month, but they could not tame Memphis Saturday afternoon as they lost 112-98.

This was the second consecutive loss for the Kings (14-19) who lost on the road on Wednesday night in Portland. For Memphis (22-14), it was their second win in a row as they were coming off a big victory at home over Oklahoma City on Thursday. The victory also gave the Grizzlies a positive start to their four-game West Coast road trip.

After the game, Kings head coach Dave Joerger called the Grizzlies one of the top four teams in the Western Conference. That is the way the Memphis played and looked in the game against the Kings.

It was all about the “3” for the Grizzlies

Memphis came into the contest shooting 34-percent from 3-point range. In this game, they shot 48.6-percent (17-for-35) from long range literally breaking the backs of the Kings from downtown. Forward JaMychal Green went for 4-for-5 beyond the arc. Zach Randolph came off the bench hitting 4-0f-6 from long range. Mike Conley went 3-for-4 from downtown en route to leading the Memphis scoring attack with 22 points.

The Grizzlies overall shooting was spectacular in the game. They shot an impressive 50.6-percent (44-for-87) from the field. Memphis had five players finish in double figures – Conley 22, Green 18, Randolph 14, Carter 14 and Daniels 11.

The Memphis bench outscored the Sacramento reserves 52-32.

Memphis won this game without much help from Gasol

The Grizzlies are usually very dependent on the center Marc Gasol if they are to have success in a game. The big man was actually very quiet during the first half scoring just two points on free throws while going 0-for-6 from the floor. He also recorded only one rebound in the half.

Gasol disappeared after playing just under three minutes in the third quarter and did return to the game. He rolled his left ankle and went to the training room for treatment. Per a team spokesperson, he could have returned to the game if needed.

We did see Gasol walking under his own power out of the training room after the game. He was not going at full speed, but he did not appear to be in pain.

Tough night for Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins had a tough night with a team that plays tough down low. In the first half, Cousins emphasis seemed to be on distributing the ball. He finished the first half with five of the Kings nine assists.

Cousins picked up his fourth personal foul with 9:16 to play in the third quarter of the game and the Kings trailing 57-49. Joerger chose to keep Cousins in the contest but he really could not be factor on defense for fear of picking up another foul.

Then with 4:08 remaining in the third quarter, Cousins was hit with his eighth technical foul of the season after getting into a shouting confrontation with several Memphis players. At first Cousins and everyone in the building thought he had been ejected from the game because of the hand gestures of the referee, but that turned out not to be the case. Cousins was allowed to remain in the game.

Cousins finished the game with 26 points, 8 assists and four rebounds.

Sacramento struggled with their shooting in the game

The Kings had trouble getting the ball to drop through the basket at times on Saturday. For much of the second half they were shooting under 40-percent from the field. They finished the game with a 43.1-field goal shooting percent (31-for-72).

The 3-point shot was also not the Kings friend versus the Grizzlies. They went 11-for-28 (39.3-percent) from downtown for the game.

The bright spot for the Kings was at the free throw line. Sacramento went 25-for-28 (89.3-percent) from the charity stripe. Memphis went to the free throw line just nine times in the game.

Lawson injured in first half – status is up in the air

Kings guard Ty Lawson was hit in the face late in the second quarter of the game. In order to get to bench and be substituted for, Lawson had to commit a foul to stop the action.

The only update that was given by the team on his status after the game was that Lawson was still under medical evaluation for his injuries.

Up next

The Kings are off until Tuesday when they will travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets for the first time this season. It is always a big deal for some of the Kings players to face Denver because the Nuggets are coached by their former coach Michael Malone.

The Grizzlies travel down the coast to Los Angeles to face the Lakers on Tuesday night.

Kings grind out a win in Memphis 96-92

Sacramento Kings v Memphis Grizzlies
Cousins takes the shot in Memphis photo: NBAE

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings went into Memphis seeking a win in a city where they had not recorded a victory since 2009 but have posted 12 straight losses. The Kings were also taking their new head coach Dave Joerger back to the city where he was the head man for three years and an assistant coach for six years before they went their separate ways after last season.

If that was not enough motivation, the Kings also needed to bounce back the demoralizing loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night 132-98.

The Kings did respond to all of those motivating factors and beat the Grizzlies on the road 96-92. It was not a pretty win. Both teams played very physical basketball and packed the paint rather than depending on the 3-point shot to win as the Rockets did in Houston. Ironically in a game that was not about 3-pointers, the Grizzlies Troy Daniels made it a 3-point game with 55.3-seconds remaining in the game with a “trey” from 26-feet away from the basket.

The Kings were able to hold on following Ty Lawson hitting 1-of-2 free throws to win the game 96-92.

Kings coach Dave Joerger sounded a bit conflicted after the game

“Kind of a crazy game. A lot of fouls – a lot of free throws, but from a personal stand point a very difficult day for me. You know … to come in here having spent as much of my love and time and family  in this community and we love it. It was not an enjoyable game to coach from that aspect. But, now I’m here and these are my guys now. I’m really proud of them. I congratulated them. We’ve had some great efforts … or performances I should say. Kosta Koufos was fantastic tonight. I thought Garrett Temple had a nice game. I thought Darren (Collison) got us in and out of stuff,” said Joerger after the win.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Memphis Grizzlies
Marc Gasol talks with his former coach Dave Joerger before the game in Memphis photo: Justin Ford USA Today Sports

Koufos and Temple step up big for Sacramento in the win

  • The Kings were without two key players on Friday as Rudy Gay – a former Grizzly – did not dress due to a right hip flexor strain and Omri Casspi sat out due to illness
  • Garrett Temple started at shooting guard and responded by scoring 17 points, grabbing six rebound, adding four assists and two steals in 37-minutes of playing time. Temple shot 4-for-11 but went 3-for-6 from long range was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. He may be playing himself into the role of starting shooting guard
  • Kosta Koufos – another former Grizzly – may have played his best game of the year to date. He scored a season-high 16 points and made it a double-double by hauling in 13 rebounds. Seven of his rebounds were offensive boards that kept possessions alive. Koufos got his running baby hook shot going the way he likes for the first time this season in the game as well. The downside in his night was he hit just 2-of-6 from the foul line
  • DeMarcus Cousins had some struggles with the physical play of the Grizzlies particularly in the first half. He shot just 2-for-10 and scored only nine points in the first 24 minutes. In the second half, the big man shot 5-for-10 and scored 13 points to bring his total points to a game-high 22. Cousins did get into foul trouble picking up his fifth personal with 6:02 to go in the game. He fouled out of the game with 1:27 remaining which gave hope to a surging Memphis team
  • Darren Collison scored 11 points and dished out six assists in 37-minutes at point guard in the victory
  • Other contributions: Matt Barnes seven points and 10 rebounds; Anthony Tolliver nine points; Ben McLemore – who started at forward – scored eight and Ty Lawson added six points

Sacramento Kings v Memphis Grizzlies
Temple on the dribble-drive in Memphis photo: NBAE

Kings (10-16) team numbers were not great but were good enough for the win

  • Shooting: 31-for-80 (38.8- percent) – you do not record a win shooting under 40-percent very often
  • 3-point shooting 7-for-24 (29.2-percent)
  • Free throw shooting 27-for-37 (73-percent) missed free throws could have cost the Kings this game
  • 45 rebounds including 13 offensive boards
  • Turnovers 12 which led to nine Memphis points
  • Points off turnovers – Sacramento score 17 points off 13 Memphis turnovers
  • 18 assists, six blocked shot and five steals

Memphis (18-10) played their typical “grind house” game

  • The Grizzlies are not a team that is going to outshoot you from 3-point land or overwhelm the opposition with their overall shooting percentage. They are a defense first team that is most comfortable scoring in the paint
  • Memphis matched the Kings scoring 36 points in the paint
  • The Grizzlies just edged out the Kings in second chance points 15-13
  • Memphis out-rebounded Sacramento 47-45
  • The Grizzlies shot 37.7-percent (29-for-77) from the field and 5-for-20 (20-percent) for 3-pointers and Troy Daniels hit four of those shots.
  • Memphis tried to take advantage of their free throw opportunities going 29-for-36 (80.6-percent) from the line
  • Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies scoring attack with 20 points. Tony Allen added 16, Troy Daniels put in 13 while Andrew Harrison recorded 11 to go with Zach Randolph’s 10

Sacramento Kings v Memphis Grizzlies
Koufos guards Gasol Photo: NBAE

Coming up on the schedule

The Kings move on to Dallas where they will face the Mavericks on Sunday. The game time has been changed because the Cowboys game has been moved to Sunday Night Football. The game will now tipoff at 1 p.m. PST. The Mavericks lost a heartbreaker to the Jazz in Utah on Friday night 103-100 on a last second 3-point basket.

Speaking of the Jazz, they travel to Memphis to play the Grizzlies on Sunday.

Next 5 games pivotal for the Kings

memphis - kings

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The dim light you can see in the west is the Kings playoff hopes setting on the horizon. Sacramento is currently in tenth place in the NBA Western Conference Playoff standings. They are four games behind Houston who is in the eighth and final playoff spot.

The Kings have lost three consecutive games at home to San Antonio, the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City – all playoff teams. The Kings inability to create home court advantage has been devastating to their playoff hopes.

In his postgame press conference on Monday night, Kings head coach George Karl pointed out that his team has been playing some of its best basketball on the road. When he made that statement, it sounded like Karl was trying to convince himself that there is still hope for his team to make the postseason.

The team will need to play great basketball if they are to survive this four-game road trip. The Kings will play in Memphis, Dallas, San Antonio and New Orleans.

The Kings are a combined 1-7 versus the four teams this season. Their only win came over Dallas in Sacramento back on November 30th.

To make matters worse, the Kings will come home after the four road games to host “King James” and the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 9th.

The best scenario for the Kings would be to finish the road trip 2-2 for the four games. The Memphis and New Orleans contests should be winnable games for the team.

Memphis is without Marc Gasol who is out for the season due to a fractured foot. Even without Gasol, the Grizzlies are going to be a playoff team. They are currently 35-24 on the season and are in fifth place in the Western Conference. Sacramento will have to start fast and finish strong to beat Memphis.

A win in Dallas is going to be tough for the Kings. The game is second game of a back-to-back for the team. Sacramento is 2-12 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.

The Spurs are on a five game winning streak and have lost only nine for the season. The best the Kings can hope for is to have San Antonio rest one or two of their starters to give Sacramento a fighting chance.

That brings us to the final game of the road trip in New Orleans. There is no reason for the Kings not to come away with victory from the Crescent City. The Pelicans are 23-35 on the year and in 11th place in the West. The Kings will need to play some top-notch perimeter defense to shutdown Ryan Anderson – the 3-point making machine that killed them on their last visit to NOLA.

In order to make the playoffs, it is going to take 37 to 41 wins. Looking a best case scenario of 37 wins being the magic number – the Kings need post a 13-11 record over the final 24 games. To say that is a tall order is to make an understatement about the Kings chances.

The next five games will make or break the Kings chances of making the playoffs. The Kings schedule will get easier later in March but later will be to late to make a playoff run.

 

 

The slide continues as Kings lose in Memphis 121-117

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Memphis Grizzlies
Photo Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The situation is growing desperate as the Sacramento Kings – who had won five consecutive games – have now lost four straight games after losing to the Grizzlies 121-117 on Saturday night in Memphis.

The game was not close until the fourth quarter when the Kings came alive on offense and defense. Sacramento (20-27) started the game very slow trailing by 14 points after the first 12 minutes were over. At the half, the Kings still trailed the Grizzlies by 14 points.

The Kings lackluster play continued in the third quarter and they found themselves down to Memphis (28-20) by 15 points as the fourth quarter began.

In the fourth quarter, Darren Collison and Rudy Gay led a mad charge on offense that would result in 40 points in the quarter for Sacramento. The Kings cut the lead to just one point off a Collison 3-point bank shot with 16 seconds to go but were unable to score after that basket.

The Kings comeback attempt was hampered when DeMarcus Cousins re-injured his left ankle after Marc Gasol rolled over the ankle with 2:02 left in the game. Cousins missed time in second quarter when he rolled the left ankle while driving to the basket.

Ultimately, the Kings were unable to overcome their slow start and lack of defense which led to their fourth consecutive loss.

Kings

Rudy Gay led the Kings scoring attack putting up 21 points in 38 minutes of playing time. Gay shot 6-for-12 overall, 2-for-3 from 3-point range and was a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line.

DeMarcus Cousins posted another double-double game scoring 17 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in just 30 minutes on the floor. Cousins had a horrible shooting night hitting on just 3-of-17 field goal attempts. He was 10-for-14 from the charity stripe.

Rajon Rondo scored 15 points and recorded eight assists but was charged with seven turnovers. Rondo fouled out of the game late in the fourth quarter.

Darren Collison put up 20 points coming off the bench with 14 of those points coming in the final quarter. Collison shot 50-percent from the field connecting on 7-of-14 shots.

Omri Casspi also supplied some punch off the bench. Casspi also shot 50-percent from the field hitting on 6-of-12 attempts.

Sacramento shot just 41.3-percent (38-of-92) from the field. They turned the ball over 19 times and that resulted in 26 Memphis points. The Kings had just 16 assists in the contest.

Grizzlies

Jeff Green led the Memphis scoring attack coming off the bench and putting up 29 points. Green was 11-for-16 from the floor, 3-for-5 from beyond the 3-point arc and a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line.

Marc Gasol scored 22 points and dished out five assists in the game. The Kings had no answer for Gasol until the fourth quarter.

Courtney Lee was also a force to be reckoned with as he scored 18 points going a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor (3-for-3 from 3-point range).

The Grizzlies shot 51.9-percent (41-for-79) from the floor and were 8-for-18 (44.4-percent) from long distance.

The Grizzlies exceeded their 96-points per game average by 25 points on Saturday night.

Up next

The Kings returned to Sacramento after the game and will host the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night at Sleep Train Arena. The Bucks have lost two consecutive games and have a 20-29 record on the season.

The Kings need a win over the Bucks as they will have to face the third best team in Eastern Conference – the Chicago Bulls – on Wednesday night in Sacramento.

Sacramento will then head out on a four-game road trip that will take them to Brooklyn, Boston, Cleveland and Philadelphia before the All-Star break.