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.
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
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
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.