Kings vs Grizzlies coverage
More from Sacramento: Sactown Royalty
Kings: Darren Collison (Out, Hip); Eric Moreland (Out, Shoulder)
Grizzlies: Tony Allen (Questionable, Hamstring)
Recently From Sacramento:
After experiencing a four game winning streak, the Sacramento Kings fell to the New Orleans Pelicans Friday night 102-88 despite DeMarcus Cousins' huge showing. He had 39 points and 20 rebounds on the night. New Orleans overpowered Cousins' fantastic performance with pivotal performances from Anthony Davis (24 points and 9 rebounds), Tyreke Evans (25 points and 10 assists), and former Grizzly Quincy Pondexter (16 points and 5 rebounds). Rudy Gay had 18 points in the game, and Omri Casspi had 10 and was 2-2 from beyond the arc. Before their four game winning streak, the Kings had been riding on a four game losing streak. Surely, the Kings will hope to start a new winning streak against the Grizz Monday night rather than start another losing streak.
Recently From Memphis:
Ha, I'm kidding...sort of. The Grizzlies have had a rough week, to put it lightly. They put together a solid showing against the Knicks Monday night, but then followed up with double digit losses in three consecutive games against, arguably, the three best teams in the league. Getting beat by the Cavs, Warriors, and Spurs isn't crazy. However, getting beat handily by all three and getting smacked twice on your home floor isn't a good look for a title contender team. To put it plainly, the Grizzlies need a win tonight and need desperately to put together a string of strong performances going into the playoffs. Most importantly, they need to now take back the two seed and avoid a first round matchup against the San Antonio Spurs. Something positive to take out of last night's 103-89 loss was that Zach Randolph appeared to be back to his old self, as he had 20 points and 13 rebounds. And although Mike Conley only had 6 points, those six points consisted of two timely threes, and he also had 9 assists and 3 steals. Marc Gasol ended the night with 16 points, but it took him a long time to get his shots to fall. Hopefully, Gasol can get it going tonight at the Forum in front of the home crowd.
Keys to Victory:
1. Z-Bo vs. Cousins
Last time Zach Randolph and DeMarcus Cousins met, tempers flared:
Statistically, Randolph and Cousins' lines were similar (Zach had 20 points, and DeMarcus had 16. Z-Bo had 5 rebounds, while DeMarcus had 9). However, the Kings grabbed the win with relative ease as they overcame Memphis 102-92. Zach Randolph struggled some last week, as he only had 5 points in the Cleveland game on Wednesday and only 10 points against Golden State Friday. However, he put together an impressive performance last night with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Playing against Cousins should get Z-Bo fired up and hopefully get him going. If Zach performs better than Cousins tonight, then the Grizz have a good chance of grabbing a win. Randolph's offensive performance from last night needs to continue tonight in order for Memphis to get back on track. Gasol also needs to do an effective job of guarding the Kings' big men and get Cousins in foul trouble. In the last match, Cousins fouled out, but the game was already out of hand by the time he did. Frontcourt play will be critical.
2. Contain Rudy Gay
Gay's length and athleticism pose a problem for Memphis. In his three games against Memphis this season, former Grizzly Rudy Gay has recorded +20 points in all of the matches. He's also shooting above 47% in all three of the games, his highest percentage in the series being recorded (60%) the last time these two teams met. Tony Allen (if available) and Jeff Green are going to need to effectively prevent Rudy for exploding in the FedEx Forum by not allowing him open jumpers and trips to the free throw line, where he shoots 85.6%.
3. Own The Boards
The Sacramento Kings are third in rebounding rate, and the Grizzlies thirteenth. With Memphis' big men (Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, and Kosta Kuofos), Memphis has to prioritize rebounding in tonight's game. In addition to rebounding well, the Kings rank 8th in pace, so I'm sure they would love nothing more than to grab rebounds and charge down the floor for transition buckets. The Grizzlies need to do a better job at securing the defensive rebounds and not allowing the Kings any extra opportunities. In last night's match, the Grizz allowed the Spurs to dominate the boards 48-34, and consequently allowed second chance points. Randolph did a nice job rebounding, but Gasol had only 6, and Kosta Kuofos only grabbed 2. Memphis is going to need a team effort in the area of rebounding in order to win this one.
The Grizzlies will come into the Forum fired up and ready to play. Although the Kings will be nicely rested, Memphis' home crowd and intensity will ultimately overpower the visiting team. The Grizzlies will do a better job at grabbing the available rebounds and Zach Randolph will have another solid night. Marc Gasol will look more like his All-Star self as his shots start to fall. DeMarcus Cousins will have a strong night, but it won't be enough for the Kings.
Memphis 98, Kings 89