The Memphis Grizzlies traveled across the country to take on the struggling Sacramento Kings, losers of eight straight. The Grizzlies were riding high off a convincing win against Charlotte, and looking to make strides toward the eighth spot in the Western Conference playoff picture. The starters for Memphis were Ja Morant, Jae Crowder, Jonas Valanciunas, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Dillon Brooks. Starting for Sacramento was Buddy Hield, De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes, Nemanja Bjelica, and Richaun Holmes.
The Kings would jump out to an early 13-4 first quarter lead, but would score just 13 more points to close out the first. Dillon Brooks single handedly brought back the Grizzlies, going 4-4 to start the game, including 2-2 from the 3-point line. Jaren Jackson Jr. also started the game 3-3 from long distance, bringing him to 16 of his last 17 games with multiple threes made. The Memphis offense would not slow down for the entire quarter, piling on scoring runs against very little Sacramento defense.
Six different Grizzlies scored in the quarter, led by JJJ with 14. The Grizzlies would have their highest scoring quarter of the season, and second highest in franchise history. After one quarter, Memphis would lead 42-26, growing as much as a 20-point lead in the quarter. Buddy Hield led the Kings with 12 points after one.
The second quarter was a much different story. Richaun Holmes, who is having a great year in his own right, tore the Grizzlies up by himself in the second quarter. He would end the quarter with 14 points in 2nd, but making his presence known on both ends of the floor. The Kings started the quarter hot, cutting the lead to just 12 points early in the 2nd; Memphis head coach Taylor Jenkins called timeout at the 8:51 mark, the Grizzlies were leading 46-34.
After the Grizzlies went over the foul limit at the 4:36 mark, the lead had been cut to eight points, and the Kings would never looks back. The Grizzlies got nothing going on the offensive end and piled on mistakes with seven 2nd quarter turnovers. An 11-2 scoring run by SAC sparked another Memphis timeout, the lead would be cut to five at 54-49 with 3:19 left in the half.
Sacramento took the lead on a made 3-pointer by Bogdan Bogdanovich with 1:13 left in the half, 58-56, the Kings had erased a 20-point lead in the 2nd quarter alone. The half ended on a 25-8 run by the Kings, leaving Memphis down 63-60 at the break. Holmes led SAC with 15 points, JJJ led the Grizz with 14.
The Memphis Grizzlies are 1-15 when they trail at half, but would put together a strong third quarter in an attempt to improve that stat. De’Aaron Fox took over where Richaun Holmes left off in the first half, Morant struggled to guard him on the offensive end. Fox would have his way for the entire second half. The Grizz would tie the game at 74 after a Jae Crowder 3-pointer, forcing a SAC timeout with 7:17 left in the third quarter. Memphis would eventually grab the lead back at 82-80 with 5:26, and Morant finally got going on the offensive end, both in scoring and assisting. Buddy Hield hit back-to-back 3s to put the Kings back in the lead at 86-82, quickly followed up by another scoring spark by Jae Crowder, putting the Grizzlies up 87-86 with 3:46 left in the 3rd.
Memphis ended the quarter on a high note, a 21-12 overall run. The Grizzlies took a seven point, 97-90, lead into the final quarter. Valanciunas led MEM with 18 points, Hield led SAC with 18 points.
Sacramento scored six quick points to start the 4th quarter, sparking a Memphis timeout just two minutes into the quarter, Memphis led 99-96. Sacramento would take the lead again, 102-101 at 8:23 left in the game, starting the game 5-5 from the field and on a 12-2 scoring run. Memphis would not hold the lead for any significant amount of time to close the game. SAC led 110-108 at the 3:40, and Memphis would never tie or take the lead again. The Grizzlies had seven turnovers in the 4th quarter, which were the major issue on the offensive end, all seemed to be most untimely.
Huge nights from Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox were too much for Memphis to overcome. Sacramento would win 128-123. Fox had 29 points and 9 assists, Hield had 26 and 7.
Memphis had all five starters in double digits along with De’Anthony Melton on the bench. Ja Morant led the Grizzlies with 23 points and 7 assists, Jae Crowder chipped in 19 points and 6 assists. The Grizzlies will travel to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers on Saturday afternoon.