Game 53 Preview: Sacramento Kings at Memphis Grizzlies

Mike Conley attacks the rim against John Salmons. (Photo: Steven Chea)

Gametime: 5:00 pm PT

Where: FedExForum, Memphis, TN.

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

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

The book on the Grizzlies: These aren’t the same Grizzlies the Kings faced almost a month ago.  Memphis traded away versatile wing Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 31 and acquired Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis and Austin Daye in return.  Since the blockbuster move, Memphis has posted a 3-3 record.

Did you know?  The Grizzlies have assisted on 65 percent of their made field goals since making the big trade.  That’s ranked Memphis fourth in the league since Jan. 31.

Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (19-33)

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Tyreke Evans
SF: John Salmons
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

Memphis Grizzlies Probable Starters (32-18)

PG: Mike Conley
SG: Tony Allen
SF: Tayshaun Prince
PF: Zach Randolph
C: Marc Gasol

Stats

Kings

  • Points Per Game: 96.7
  • Offensive Rating: 100.7
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 102.5
  • Defensive Rating: 108.2
  • Pace: 95.01

Grizzlies

  • Points Per Game: 93.4
  • Offensive Rating: 100.4
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 89.2
  • Defensive Rating: 97.6
  • Pace: 91.84

Three questions to ponder

1.  What kind of impact will John Salmons make on tonight’s game?

Salmons, for much of the last month, had struggled.  Until Saturday against the Jazz, the veteran forward hadn’t scored in double figures in ten consecutive games.  But Salmons broke out of his slump in the Kings’ two outings at home, totaling 34 points in the last two games.  For most of this season, Salmons has been solid and the Kings are a much better team when they get contributions from their veteran wing.  With Rudy Gay no longer patrolling the perimeter for the Grizzlies, Salmons may have an opportunity to make an impression on tonight’s game with his offense.

2.  Can the Kings stay hot from beyond the arc?

In their last two games, the Kings have been lights out from 3-point land.  In back-to-back wins over the Rockets and Jazz, the Kings have shot 48.7 percent from long range and have averaged 9.5 makes per contest.  When the Kings have their 3-point shooting going, their spacing improves, leading to better ball movement.  The Grizzlies are one of the better defensive teams in the league and have really controlled the pace in their last two match-ups against the Kings.  Memphis held the Kings to 2-of-10 shooting from 3-point land in the last meeting between these two teams.

3.  Will the Grizzlies hold the Kings under 90 points?

Memphis leads the NBA in points allowed per game by holding their opponents to 89.2 points per contest.  The Grizzlies are one of those teams that the Kings just don’t seem to match-up well against.  The Kings have either allowed the Grizzlies to run wild on offense or let Memphis to shut them down with defense.  The last time these two teams met, the Grizzlies held the Kings to 69 points – their lowest point total of the season.  At halftime, the Kings had scored only 30 points and shot 28.6 percent from the field.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

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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.