Game 46 Preview: Kings vs. Grizzlies

After winning their last two games, the Sacramento Kings hope to build upon recent success against the visiting Memphis Grizzlies.  The Kings are currently 4-3 on a season-long nine-game homestand.
Gametime: 7 pm PST
Broadcast Information: Click here.
For perspective on the 3 Shades of Blue, visit fellow TrueHoop Network blog 3 Shades of Blue.

Kings Probable Starters (16-29)

Isaiah Thomas Marcus Thornton John Salmons Jason Thompson DeMarcus Cousins

Tyreke Evans and Francisco Garcia are listed as gametime decisions.  Both players have missed the last two contests because injury – Evans with a sprained left ankle and Garcia with a sprained right wrist.  The Kings roster now stands at 13 after releasing forward J.J. Hickson yesterday.

Grizzlies Probable Starters (25-18)

Mike Conley Tony Allen Rudy Gay Mareese Speights Marc Gasol

The Grizzlies played out of their minds offensively in their last match-up against the Kings.  They posted a 58.7 effective field-goal percentage (the league average is 48.5 percent) in a 128-95 win at the FedEx Forum.  The Grizzlies are finally healthy with Zach Randolph back in the fold, who missed 30-plus games with a right knee injury.

3-on-3 Roundtable

You may be familiar with ESPN.com’s 5-on-5 roundtables, which feature opinion and analysis from ESPN writers and TrueHoop Network contributors on pressing NBA topics. Along with other THN blogs, Cowbell Kingdom has brought that format to the local level in the form of our own 3-on-3 roundtable.

Chip Crain of 3 Shades of Blue and Jared Dubin of Hardwood Paroxysm join me to preview today’s Kings/Grizzlies game.

1. Match-up to watch?

Chip Crain: DeMarcus Cousins vs Marc Gasol.  Gasol was named a Western Conference All-Star, but hasn’t been playing that well lately, possibly from fatigue and Zach Randolph returning to the lineup. Cousins was in the Kings’ doghouse earlier this year, but seems to have matured recently.

Jared Dubin: DeMarcus Cousins vs. Zach Randolph – Everyone knows that Cousins can score on the low block, but the key to taking the next step in his evolution as a basketball player is to develop into a force on the other end. Zach Randolph is one of the best low post scorers in the NBA and will provide a huge test for Cousins down low. Randolph would also be a nice model for Cousins to follow in terms of an early-career headcase who straightens himself out and turns into an impact player.

Jonathan Santiago:  Chuck Hayes vs. Zach Randolph.  With Hickson out of the picture, Hayes is likely to get extra playing time tonight against the Grizzlies’ big man.  In his first game back after tearing his right MCL, Randolph scored 25 points off Memphis’ bench.

2. Stat that decides the game…

Chip Crain: The Grizzlies missed 20 free throws in the loss to Toronto and only had five attempts against the Lakers. The Grizzlies are a physical team that generates a lot of contact. If they get to the line and hit them, they are tough to beat.

Jared Dubin: In each of the two previous Kings-Grizz games, the Kings have allowed Memphis to shoot over 54 percent from the field and as a result, they have been blown out in both games. They can’t allow that to happen tonight. Also key will be the rebounding battle, as the Grizzlies out-rebounded Sacramento by a combined 21 boards in the two contests.

Jonathan Santiago:  Mike Conley points.  Memphis is 6-0 when Conley scores at least 20 points.  The Grizzlies guard torched the Kings in their last meeting, scoring 22 points on 10-for-11 shooting in the first half alone.

3. Better transaction: the Kings waiving J.J. Hickson or the Grizzlies signing Gilbert Arenas?

Chip Crain: Signing Arenas has to be better than letting Hickson go. I don’t believe in addition by subtraction and Hollins is getting a lot of respect for turning around players he coaches (Randolph, Speights, Allen, Conley).

Jared Dubin: Addition by subtraction is better than subtraction by addition. The Kings waiving Hickson is a better move.

Jonathan Santiago: I just don’t see how Arenas fits with the Grizzlies.  They already have O.J. Mayo coming off the bench, who provides a spark offensively from the guard position.  Hickson, on the other hand, was unable adapt his game to fit the Kings’ plans.  Once it became clear Jason Thompson and Chuck Hayes were better options, it was best to cut ties.  The Kings tried hard to deal him, but Hickson had no value on the trade market.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.