The 24-13 Memphis Grizzlies have lost 3 straight games by 21 points or more. The Grizzlies are 4 games behind the San Antonio Spurs in the Southwest Division. Memphis hosts the 15-24 Sacramento Kings Friday night (7:00 pm Central, Sports South, CSN-California, NBA LP) as the Grizzlies try to get back on track. The Kings have won 2 straight games.
Memphis has won 8 of the last 10 against Sacramento. The Grizzlies are even more dominant at home having won 13 of the last 16 in Memphis against the Kings including 5 in a row.. The Grizzlies crushed the Kings 113-81 in Sacramento January 7. It was the biggest road win in Grizzlies’ franchise history. The two teams will play twice more this season February 12 and April 7.
Sacramento is coached by Keith Smart. The Kings are being outscored 103-98 this season. The Kings are #12 in scoring but #28 in points allowed out of 30 teams. Only the Charlotte Bobcats and Houston Rockets allow more points per game. The Kings are shooting 44.2% from the field and 35.8% from 3 point range. Sacramento is #12 in 3 point shooting. The Kings are #11 in free throw shooting at 76.9% from the line. Sacramento averages 40.6 rebounds and gives up 44.2 per game. The Kings are 25th or worse in both categories. Sacramento opponents are shooting 45.8% from the field and 35.8% from 3 point range. The Kings average 20.1 assists, 8 steals, 4.7 blocks, and 14.6 turnovers a game.
Center DeMarcus Cousins averages 17.7 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Point guard Tyreke Evans averages 15 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and a.3 steals. Guard Marcus Thornton averages 12.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. Point guard Isaiah Thomas averages 11.1 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game. Forward Jason Thompson averages 11.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1 block per game. Small forward John Salmons averages 10.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. Guard Aaron Brooks averages 9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists. Guard Jimmer Fredette averages 8.2 points per game. Francisco Garcia, James Johnson, and Thomas Robinson make up the rest of the rotation.
The Grizzlies are coached by Lionel Hollins. Memphis is outscoring teams 94-90 this season. They are second in the league in points allowed and are #26 in scoring. The Grizzlies are shooting 43.4% from the field and 34.2% from 3 point range. The Grizzlies are #24 in field goal percentage and #22 in three point shooting. Memphis is #2 in the league in free throw shooting at 79.9% from the line. The Grizzlies average 42.6 rebounds per game and give up 38.9. Memphis is #1 in rebounds allowed and #13 in rebounding. Grizzlies’ opponents are shooting 43.8% from the field and 36% from 3 point range. Memphis is #8 in opponents’ field goal percentage and #18 in 3 point defense. The Grizzlies average 20.6 assists, 9.2 steals, 5.2 blocks and 14.8 turnovers a game.
Small forward Rudy Gay averages 17.7 points per game, 5.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 steals a game. Forward Zach Randolph averages 16.4 points, 11.6 rebounds to lead the team, and 1.4 assists per game. Randolph is second in the league in rebounding. He is out tonight with a strained back suffered in the loss to Spurs Wednesday night. Both Gay and Randolph have been the subject of trade rumors despite the great start of the Grizzlies. Center Marc Gasol averages 13.2 points, 7.4rebounds, 3.7 assists, a steal, and 1.8 blocks per game. Point Guard Mike Conley, Jr. averages 12.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2.4 steals a game to lead the team in the latter two categories. Tony Allen starts at shooting guard and is one of the best defenders in the league. Allen averages 8.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Forward Marreese Speights, point guard Jerryd Bayless, forward Quincy Pondexter, Guard Wayne Ellington and forward Darrell Arthur make up the rest of the rotation. Pondexter is out indefinitely with a grade 2 MCL sprain. Look for Speights or Arthur to start in place of Randolph tonight.
Before their current 3 game losing streak, Memphis went on a 4 game winning streak. It isn’t hard to see why their fortunes have changed. During the winning streak Memphis was scoring 100 points per game, and giving up 87. During the current losing streak, Memphis is being outscored 101-79. The Spurs shot 57.5% from the field Wednesday night, something no other team had done to Memphis this season. Even without Randolph, a game against the Kings could be just what the Doctor ordered to cure the Grizzlies’ shooting woes. The Kings are among the worst defensive teams in the league.