Sacramento Kings (2-6) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (4-5) Preview


April 07, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) controls the ball against Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) during the third quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Grizzlies won 89-87. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Friday’s disappointing loss to the Detroit Pistons featured the Kings struggling to find any consistent offense while consistently turning over the ball. Talented from top to bottom, the Grizzlies are far better than their 4-5 record indicates and the Kings will have to contend with a dark-horse championship possibility as they look to get back on track.


Sacramento Kings:

Memphis Grizzlies


DeMarcus Cousins

, 6’11, Kentucky

22.8 PPG, 10 RPG, 1.6 BPG, 48.3% FG


Marc Gasol

, 7’1, Spain

16.2 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 3.6 APG, 47% FG


Jason Thompson

, 6’11, Rider

6.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 41.5% FG


Zach Randolph

, 6’9, Michigan St.

14.3 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 51.4% FG


John Salmons

, 6’6, Miami (FL)

4.9 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 30% FG


Tayshaun Prince

, 6’9, Kentucky

6.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 41.1% FG


Ben McLemore

, 6’5, Kansas

7.8 PPG, 2.5 APG, 38.3% FG


Tony Allen

, 6’4, Oklahoma St.

9.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.1 SPG, 58.1% FG


Greivis Vasquez

, 6’6, Maryland

10.5 PPG, 5.5 APG, 2.1 TPG, 48.4% FG


Mike Conley

, 6’1, Ohio St.

19.1 PPG, 5.4 APG, 1.7 SPG, 49.6% FG

Key Bench Players:


Isaiah Thomas

, 5’11, Washington

27.8 MPG, 18.1 PPG, 5 APG, 47.9% FG


Jerryd Bayless

, 6’3, Arizona

18.7 MPG, 6.1 PPG, 34% FG


Marcus Thornton

, 6’4, LSU

28.3 MPG, 10.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 36.6% FG


Mike Miller

, 6’8, Florida

24.3 MPG, 8 PPG, 4.3 RPG


Patrick Patterson

, 6’9, Kentucky

23 MPG, 5.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG


Kosta Koufos

, 7’0, Ohio St.

16 MPG, 5.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG

Last Three Contests:

April 7, 2013: Grizzlies @ Kings – Grizzlies 89, Kings 87
February 12, 2013: Kings @ Grizzlies – Grizzlies 108, Kings 101
January 18, 2013: Kings @ Grizzlies – Grizzlies 89, Kings 65

Nov 13, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Jason Terry (31) fouls Sacramento Kings point guard Greivis Vasquez (10) before being called for a technical foul during the fourth quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Brooklyn Nets 107-86. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Key Matchup: Greivis Vasquez vs. Mike Conley

Vasquez had his first bad game in a Kings uniform on Friday night, finishing with eight turnovers and six assists in the loss. Mike Conley is one of the league’s craftiest defensive point guards, and he and his backcourt mate Tony Allen combine for 3.8 steals per game.

Add in the fact that Conley is of the leagues fastest points, and you’ve got a concerning matchup. DeMarcus Cousins has developed a ton this year, but one of the most impressive improvements has been his post defense, particularly when rotating to cover someone attacking the basket. Cousins has become very solid at stopping the attacker, and he’ll likely be stuck rotating quite a lot in this game if Vasquez can’t guard his old teammate in Conley.

Three Things to Watch:

1. Cousins vs. Grizzlies bruisers: Cousins still struggles against bigs who can match him in sheer muscle (Exhibit A: Andrew Bogut of the Warriors). Here he faces off against reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol, who can hold his ground against Cousins. Add in Zach Randolph (260 pounds of pure force) for rotations, and Cousins will be playing one of the strongest big-man dous in the league.

2. Get some help!: Cousins was the lone King who had a “excellent” game against the Pistons. Isaiah Thomas played well in spurts, but the Kings still have serious problems when it comes to across-the-board effort. Marcus Thornton, Ben McLemore, Jason Thompson and John Salmons combined to shoot just 6-25 from the field. The Grizzlies are stacked with excellent defenders at every position, which is exceedingly concerning given the Kings abysmal offense lately.

3. Force the Tempo: Sacramento is a team built for a faster-paced offense, while the Grizzlies excel at slow-tempo, grind-it-out basketball. If the Kings can continually force the Grizzlies to play faster and keep up with the Kings athletically, they’ll have a shot against a very good squad.

Prediction: Grizzlies 92, Kings 83