Game Preview: Kings (5-3) at Grizzlies (7-1)


All right. Ok. Time to regroup.

The Kings were without Darren Collison in Tuesday night’s road loss to the Mavericks. He’s dealing with some sort of left shoulder issue, and is listed as questionable for tonight’s game in Memphis.

Without Collison, Michael Malone inserted Ramon Sessions into the starting lineup, and while I’m hesitant to call it a complete failure, I certainly wouldn’t say it was a success. Sessions had his offense going, but combined with Ben McLemore, the Kings starting guards did not register an assist. Zero. When was the last time a starting guard pairing played 75 minutes in an NBA game without recording an assist? That is outrageous. You can read our full recap of that game here.

The Kings have lost two-straight heading into Memphis. The Grizzlies are 7-1.

What To Watch For:

Marc Gasol is a problem: As unstoppable as DeMarcus Cousins has been this season, he has struggled against the leagues top interior defenders. Andrew Bogut and Tyson Chandler are two of maybe three centers that can really handle Cousins size and physicality. The other one is Marc Gasol. If there is anything we’ve learned about this Kings team through eight games, it’s that they run on DeMarcus. They need him on the court, and they need him playing well. Gasol has the ability to shut that down. This is going to be a great matchup to watch.

Finding Offense: Marc Gasol isn’t the only defender on the Memphis Grizzlies. If you take one glance up and down their depth chart, you can see defensive minded players all over that roster. The Grizzlies are an amazing defensive team, and to make matters worse for the Kings, they don’t commit many fouls (bottom five in the league). The Kings offense has relied heavily on free throw opportunities this season. A lot is going to come down to how the referees officiate tonight’s game. If they call it tight, the Kings might be able to sneak out of Memphis by way of grinding out points at the line. If they don’t, I’m not sure how the Kings are going to score.

Ugly Basketball: The Grizzlies play at a slow pace. The Kings play a bit faster, but score a huge majority of their points at the free throw line. Both teams are near the top of the league in most defensive categories. Both teams like to toss the ball into one of their post players and run the offense from there. This has the potential to be an extremely ugly, slow, physical game. Oddly enough, this brand of basketball favors both teams. I’m really excited to see how this one plays out.

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Is taking a step back in 2023-24 inevitable for the Sacramento Kings?
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  • The Line (5-3): I’m 5-3 guessing Kings games this season. My strategy to this point has been simple. Bet with the Kings, because they are undervalued right now. The Grizzlies are 6-point favorites tonight, and for the first time all year, I’m taking a Kings opponent. The Grizzlies are good (duh!), and they are tough to play at home. The Kings may or may not be without Darren Collison. This would be an amazing win for Sacramento, but not a smart pick.

    Final Thoughts: I hope the Kings don’t get too discouraged after this tough stretch in the schedule. They’ve played quite well so far, but the schedule is so tough that they could come out of the next few games with a losing record, and I just hope the team can maintain an appropriate perspective on what they’ve accomplished. The schedule will lighten up, eventually.