Game Preview: Kings (9-7) vs. Grizzlies (14-2)


Assuming the Kings team doctors can get DeMarcus Cousins healthy enough to play tonight, this should be a lot of fun.

The Kings have been on the road since November 22nd, Minnesota to New Orleans to Houston to San Antonio. I’m sure they are excited to be home, and I’m sure they’d be even more excited if Memphis wasn’t waiting for them when they got there.

A 2-2 road trip is something to be proud of, especially considering the on again off again injuries to Darren Collison, Rudy Gay, and DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings haven’t been at full strength since that win in Minnesota on the 22nd. I think they’ll have a full team ready to go tonight, but we won’t know for sure until tipoff.

Darren Collison and Rudy Gay returned to the lineup in the Kings respectable loss to San Antonio on Friday. DeMarcus Cousins didn’t play because of some sort of illness, which leads me to believe everyone should be relatively good to go.

The Memphis Grizzlies are really good. I think they are the best team in the league right now, but that’s debatable. Last time out, The Kings jumped on the Grizzlies early only to have the lead they built completely erased, setting up the notorious Courtney Lee buzzer-beating, potentially tipped or potentially late layup. A few days ago the NBA denied the Kings appeal, which was totally predictable, but I appreciate Vivek and Co. giving it a shot.

I’ve already spent way too much brainpower on the Courtney Lee play. Whatever.

If nothing else, the history between these two teams sets us up nicely for a good game tonight. Again, assuming Cousins is healthy, because the Kings aren’t going to beat this team without him.

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  • We know the Kings can hang with the Grizzlies. They did it the last time they played, and that game was on the road. They need Cousins to do it, however. The DeMarcus Cousins vs. Marc Gasol matchup is fascinating. Gasol is one of a handful of centers in this league that can handle Cousins physicality, and it forces Cousins to utilize his jumper and/or quickness instead of brute strength. Of course, the Grizzlies will live with Cousins jumpers provided he isn’t hitting them, but Cousins jumper inconsistencies is another reason why he’s so scary. He still has room to grow.

    Courtney Lee and Vince Carter really hurt the Kings last game. There is only so much you can do to Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley. Those are top-ish tier players. They are going to play well. I thought the Kings played respectable defense on the Grizzlies stars. That wasn’t the issue. The issue was how easily Lee was making plays on and off the ball, and how open the Kings left Carter down the stretch.

    This is the last game of an incredible November for the Sacramento Kings. As we’ve been saying all season, the schedule will get considerably easier in December when a few of the Eastern Conference cellar dwellers come to town.

    I am a little alarmed by how fragile the Kings have been towards the end of the month. They just cannot afford injures in their starting lineup, and that’s exactly what they’ve been dealing with. But with a full squad tonight, I’m expecting a big effort from the Kings. They owe the Grizzlies a loss.

    Check back in after the game for our recap.