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Grizzlies-Kings Preview: Boogie vs. Big Spain

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What to look for in the matchup vs. Sacramento.

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

2014/15 NBA Season
vs
2014/15:
7-1 (3-0 home)
2014/15:
5-3 (3-2 road)
November 13, 2014
FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
7:00 PM CDT
Fox SportSouth / 92.9 FM ESPN
Possible Starters
Mike Conley PG Darren Collison
Courtney Lee SG Ben McLemore
Tony Allen SF Rudy Gay
Zach Randolph PF Jason Thompson
Marc Gasol C DeMarcus Cousins
2014/15 Advanced Stats
93.9 (25th) Pace 97.4 (8th)
101.3 (19th) OEff 103.1 (14th)
94.8 (4th) DEff 101.7 (13th)
48.3 (23rd) RebR 55.1 (1st)

Kings vs Grizzlies coverage

Opponent's Blog: Sactown Royalty

Injuries

Kings: Darren Collison (shoulder, questionable)

Grizzlies: (none, unless you count Jordan Adams and Jarnell Stokes' pine butt)

Know Your Opponent

2013-14 was a year of transition for the Kings, as they continued to develop young talent like Ben McLemore and DeMarcus Cousins as well as acquiring a stock-plummeting Rudy Gay from Toronto.   In the offseason, the Kings controversially let scoring machine point guard Isaiah Thomas walk in free agency, replacing him with veteran distributors Darren Collison and Ramon Sessions, as well as acquiring wing shooter Nik Stauskas in the draft.

The early results have been good for the Kings.  They've been a more efficient team in virtually every aspect.  After ranking in the bottom third in the league in most statistics (excluding rebounding) in '13-'14, Sacramento is in the top half of the league in nearly every category, and have taken the rebounding up a notch, showing dominant rebounding ability as a team.

Darren Collison missed the last game with a shoulder injury, and if he's a scratch again expect Ramon Sessions to run the point.  Also, while Jason Thompson starts, Carl Landry often plays heavy minutes at the 4 depending on matchups.

Points of Grizzly Emphasis

Possessions

Early in the season, the Grizzlies have been good at avoiding turnovers (10th in the league) but not very good at rebounding the ball (23rd in rebounding rate).  Conversely, the one thing Sacramento struggles with is turnovers (24th in the league) while leading the league by a fairly wide margin in rebounding rate.   While Marc and Zach have remained effective rebounders, Kosta Koufos and Jon Leuer have much been less effective off the bench than the combo of Koufos and Ed Davis last season.

Marc watch

The Grizzlies' big men - Randolph and Gasol - struggled to score in the Laker game, putting up a combined 19 points on 7-20 shooting.  While Zach has had his usual ups and downs, Marc has experienced a mini-slide.  After averaging a dominant 22 PPG on 55% shooting the first 5 games of the season, Marc has averaged 11 points on 34% shooting in the 3 games since.  As always, Marc does other things that positively impact the game, but the dropoff is something to watch.  Marc is averaging 36 minutes per game early in the season, and you wonder if those miles could add up and hamper his effectiveness.

Boogie & Rudy

DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay are the biggest threats in the Kings lineup, each averaging over 22 points per game fairly efficiently while being among the best rebounders at their positions.  The Grizzlies may key on each defensively and try to make the rest of the Kings beat them.  The Kings are more well-rounded than in the past though, and can make you pay in a number of ways.  It will be interesting to see what strategy Coach Dave Joerger employs to limit the Kings' offense.

Why you should watch this game

There are a lot of reasons to watch Grizzlies-Kings.   Two of the fastest starting teams in the NBA will face off tonight.  The Grizzlies haven't always looked great, but they're 7-1.   When you feel like you're struggling and you've got the best record in the Western Conference, that's a good thing.   Rudy Gay will be back, of course, and has been playing the most consistent ball of his career in Sacramento.   This projects to be a close, hard-fought game.  Most of all, though, watch it for the matchup of two of the best centers in the game in Cousins and Gasol.