clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Grizzlies vs. Kings: Start time, TV Info and Preview

The Grizzlies have won 8 of the last 10 and look to extend their winning streak against the Kings.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Memphis Grizzlies (27-20) vs. Sacramento Kings (20-26)

Where: FedexForum in Memphis, TN

When: 7:00pm (CT), Saturday January 30th

How to Watch: Fox Sports Southeast

How to Listen: ESPN 92.9FM Memphis

Injury report:

Memphis Grizzlies:
Jordan Adams (knee) - out
Brandan Wright (knee) - out
Sacramento Kings:
Eric Moreland (foot) - out
Duje Dukan (leg) - out

The Memphis Grizzlies face the Sacramento Kings, a team that is having some uneven times lately (actually during the whole season). They are losers of the last three but had won the previous five. They hold a 20-26 record and are currently fighting for the eighth spot in the Western Conference. The former Grizzly Rudy Gay, who is currently on the trade block, is expected to come back to the lineup after missing two games.

Regardless of the incredible displays by DeMarcus Cousins in January, this is a must win for the Grizzlies. They cannot afford to drop games against teams below .500 like they recently did in Minnesota. Memphis should get to the All Star break in a winning mood. The calendar helps in that sense, since they are mostly facing opponents with a losing record. Of the 6 games remaining before the break, only one of them is against a team currently holding a playoff spot: the Dallas Mavericks.

Clash of styles

Sacramento leads the league in pace as opposed to the Grizzlies that like to slow things down. Coach George Karl has made the team run the floor and converted it into one of the top scorers in the league. The former NBA champion Rajon Rondo, who is in a contract year, is the one responsible for pushing the tempo.

Keeping a low turnover rate and executing offensively will keep Sacramento away from running the floor. The team able to control the pace will have the bigger chance to get away with the win.

The battle down low

It will be a showdown between the leading team in points allowed in the paint (Memphis) against the top team in points scored in the paint (Sacramento). Against this background, containing Cousins is vital to a Memphis win. No surprises there. Cousins has been tremendous in January. He's averaged 32.6 points per game during this stint.

It's still to be seen how coach Dave Joerger designs the defensive matchups. Last year, Cousins was playing as a true center (Jason Thompson, the current Golden State Warriors player, was the power forward), while this year the defensive-minded rookie Willie Cauley-Stein fills in the center position, having the former Grizzly Kosta Koufos as a backup. Considering that Zach Randolph has seemingly lost a step, Marc Gasol is likely to be the selected player to neutralize Cousins.

Money ball

Here's the thing. Memphis shot 31.5% from the three point line during the first 34 games. In 13 games in January, Memphis has shot 37.6% (6th in the league, yes you're reading right!). Truth be told, this stretch coincides with an easier schedule but the accuracy from distance has been one of the reasons why the Grizzlies have embarked on this winning streak.

The Grizz still do not shoot a whole lot from three point range. Actually they have been shooting pretty much the same amount of threes in January compared to the first 3 months of the season. The team will strongly benefit if they are able to consistently score seven or more threes a game. This does not only have to do with the actual increase in scoring but also with the fact that defenses will have to spread out and Z-Bo and Marc will be able to better operate in the paint.

Memphis and Sacramento lead the league in number of three point attempts allowed. Being effective from long range will be a key to the game. In this respect, Sacramento is a decent three point shooting team even though the former 3-point contest champion Marco Belinelli is shooting a career low.

Prediction

The Grizzlies should control the tempo and impose their will. They should have a solid defensive performance, especially with Gasol on Cousins. Continuing to shoot the ball well will be crucial to a Memphis win.

Memphis, 101 - Sacramento, 95