Game Preview: Will Grizzlies crown Kings?

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Zach Randolph no longer has the flu, while DeMarcus Cousins still doesn't have a clue.

There's a quiet frustration in Memphis these days. It's not that the team is playing all that badly, it's just that they're not playing as well as they did to start the campaign. All isn't lost, though, as January is too early to be peaking anyways (do you hear me Clipper fans?).

The Grizzlies travel to Sacramento Monday night, a team that should make them feel better about their own 'struggles' lately.

One can't help but look at DeMarcus Cousins and see Zach Randolph circa 2006. Talent galore, both inside and out, but very little between the ears. Few thought that Z-Bo would ever be this productive, consistent, and mature back when he was running guys like Isiah Thomas and Mike Dunleavy out of coaching. Today, he's one of the better big men in the league. More reliable a franchise player one cannot find.

Marc Gasol has to seem like the anti-Cousins. He constantly plays with his head firmly on his shoulders, reading defenses almost perfectly every time downcourt. I expect a masterful game from the Spaniard tonight against a guy who will be eager to learn from his example...or, at least, should be.

Rudy Gay, meanwhile, seems to be shaking off those trade rumors pretty well. He scored 20 points at Phoenix last night, as smoothly as any guy in the league could've. I expect more of the same in Sactown as he'll be matched up with the ever-so-average James Johnson.

The back-up guard rotation is in flux for the Kings (much like the rest of their team). Jerryd Bayless and Wayne Ellington could both have productive nights in relief.

As for the PF matchup, if Zach doesn't go for a big game against Jason Thompson/James Robinson...either his flu is making a comeback or the game is a blowout.

My money is on the latter.

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