WHEN: 8:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/NBA League Pass/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: Grayson Allen (Out, abdomen), Sean McDermott (Out, foot), Many Others (Likely Well Earned Rest)
SACRAMENTO: Harrison Barnes (Doubtful, adductor), De’Aaron Fox (Out, health and safety protocols), Tyrese Haliburton (Out, knee), Marvin Bagley III (Doubtful, groin), Robert Woodard (Out, back), Buddy Hield (Probable, ankle)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS (assuming Memphis rest, could change):
MEMPHIS: Tyus Jones, De’Anthony Melton, Desmond Bane, Justise Winslow, Xavier Tillman
SACRAMENTO: Delon Wright, Buddy Hield, Maurice Harkless, Chimezie Metu, Richaun Holmes
It is a bit ironic that, despite the logical and correct feeling that it was a big win, last night’s Grizzlies victory was more meaningful for a division foe of Memphis than it was for the Grizzlies themselves. With their win over the Kings, the Grizzlies actually clinched a play-in spot for the Spurs in the process. As a result, while there are still are actual playoff seeds to be determined, the ten Western Conference play-in/playoff participants are now known.
As a result, it seems the defining theme on Friday night could be rest in many games for the NBA. For instance, regardless of what happens in tonight’s games between the Grizzlies and Kings as well as the Warriors and Pelicans, it will have no impact on Sunday’s contest between the Warriors and the Grizzlies to determine the 8th and 9th seeds in the Western Conference. This means tonight could provide players such as Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Jonas Valanciunas, and others the chance to have an extra day of rest in what has been an exhausting period of play.
Regardless of who sits and who actually plays, the top 7 to 8 guys in the Grizzlies rotation will likely see limited minutes, if any at all. Therefore, it may not seem as if tonight’s game carries any real relevance for Memphis. However, it could still be an opportunity for several Grizzlies players to have a good game to build off of going into Sunday, and a chance for the team as a whole to iron out some flaws.
With that in mind, here is what to watch for tonight against the Kings:
Disciplined Basketball: One area where Memphis will likely need to improve going forward is its discipline on defense and overall. Last night, the Grizzlies allowed the Kings to produce 17 threes and 33 assists. Memphis also committed 18 turnovers. In general, the Grizzlies have struggled recently when it comes to limiting mistakes. It is critical for Memphis to both defend the three and limit extra possessions for their opponents going forward if they want to make the playoffs. Tonight would be a great time to start that trend.
Career Highs for Many: On Tuesday night against the Mavericks, John Konchar produced a career high in points with 18. Tonight could be quite fun because several Grizzlies reserves will likely set season or even career high totals in minutes played. As a result, we could see several Grizzlies players produce career highs in points and other statistical categories. It would also be fun to see Memphis play well enough to earn a victory that would allow for them to finish .500 at home for the season. While the result of tonight’s game may have no relevance for the team’s fortunes for the rest of the season, it could be quite memorable for multiple players on the Memphis roster in time.
For those that may enjoy to wager and bet, there could be several fun prop bets to enjoy in terms of who plays and who sits and who sets career highs tonight. In the end, the goal for Memphis is to remain healthy and play a solid game of basketball as they prepare for their pursuit of the playoffs. The Grizzlies have earned the right to have a game that is purely based in fun. Hopefully, that means they can earn a victory and get ready for one of their more important games in years on Sunday.
Final Score: Grizzlies 103, Kings 97