Mike Conley vs. Isaiah Thomas (Photo: Steven Chea)

Gametime: 7:00 pm PT

Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA

Broadcast Information: TV – Comcast SportsNet California, Radio – CBS Sports 1140

For Grizzlies perspective, visit TrueHoop Network Affiliate 3 Shades of Blue.

The book on the Grizzlies:  The Grizzlies are off to their best start in franchise history.  However, they’ve played hot and cold basketball as of late.  Following a four-game winning streak that ended a season-long three-game losing streak, Memphis has a 2-4 record over their last six contests.

Did you know?  Since returning from his latest suspension, DeMarcus Cousins has played like the player everyone believes he can be.  In the ensuing six contests, Cousins has averaged 20.8 points, 13.5 rebounds, five assists, and 1.8 steals in 33.2 minutes per game.  He’s also shot 48 percent from the field and 80.6 percent from the charity stripe.

Status Updates: Tyreke Evans will make his return to the lineup after nursing a sore left knee.  Marcus Thornton is out with a sprained left ankle.

Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (13-21)

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Francisco Garcia
SF: John Salmons
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

Memphis Grizzlies Probable Starters (21-10)

PG: Mike Conley
SG: Tony Allen
SF: Rudy Gay
PF: Zach Randolph

C: Marc Gasol

Stats

Kings

  • Points Per Game: 96.9
  • Offensive Rating: 101.5
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 101.1
  • Defensive Rating: 107.1
  • Pace: 94.65

Grizzlies

  • Points Per Game: 94.2
  • Offensive Rating: 100.3
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 88.8
  • Defensive Rating: 96.3
  • Pace: 92.74

Three questions to ponder

1.  Can the Kings make the Grizzlies play hero ball?

The Grizzlies have one of the worst assist-to-turnover ratios in the league.  Through 31 games, Memphis averages just 20.7 assists to 15.4 turnovers per contest.  That ratio gets uglier in losses, where the Grizzlies average 20.8 assists to 17.1 turnovers per game.  Two games ago, the Grizzlies recorded just 13 assists in an 86-84 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.  The Kings have been notorious for playing too much one-on-one, but they’ve been sharing the ball better compared to the Grizzlies as of late.  If Sacramento’s defense closes passing lanes and forces Memphis players to play one-on-one, the Kings could have a shot a stunning one of the Western Conference’s elite teams.

2.  Can the Kings keep Memphis below 42 percent shooting for the game?

By now, you probably get the picture that the Grizzlies aren’t exactly world-beaters on offense.  In addition to having a poor assist-to-turnover ratio, Memphis struggles to make shots.  The Grizzlies are shooting just 43.7 percent from the field this season.  If the Kings can hold them below 42 percent, a win could be in the cards for the home team.  In losses, the Grizzlies are shooting 41.7 percent from the field.

3.  Will the Grizzlies force the Kings into making careless errors?

Offense aside, the Grizzlies are still one of the best teams in the league because of their defense.  Along with the Indiana Pacers, they’re one of just two teams in the NBA that are holding their opposition to below 90 points per game.  They’re also very good at forcing turnovers.  The Grizzlies have forced 10 or more turnovers in 135 straight games, which is the longest active streak in the league.  Sharing the ball effectively with few mistakes will be crucial for Sacramento against a very good defensive team tonight.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.