Game 9 Preview: Kings at Grizzlies

Marc_Gasol

Game time: 5:00 p.m. PDT

Where: FedExForum, Memphis, TN.

Broadcast Information: KHTK Sports 1140 (Radio), Comcast SportsNet California (Local Television)

Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (5-3)

PG: Darren Collison
SG: Ben McLemore
SF: Rudy Gay
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

Memphis Grizzlies Probable Starters (7-1)

PG: Mike Conley
SG: Courtney Lee
SF: Tony Allen
PF: Zach Randolph
C: Marc Gasol

Three things to ponder

1. A struggle to score

The Grizzlies defense can suck the life out of you. They currently rank first in the NBA in points allowed (89.4) and opponent free throw attempts (18.3) per game. Memphis is also tied for sixth in steals per contest (8.9). The only chink in their armor is defending behind the arc, where the Kings sit tied for last in makes per game (4.8). Having Darren Collison back from injury will help, but the offensive burden again rests on Cousins.

2. Bench play

For the season, Sacramento’s bench is 23rd in the league in defensive efficiency (hoopsstats.com). On offense, the unit has struggled to find consistent contributors aside from Carl Landry, who’s been the only Kings second-stringer to reach double-digit points at least once in the past three games. Sacramento needs someone, whether it be Ramon Sessions, Nik Stauskas or Omri Casspi, to step their play up against a vulnerable Memphis bench.

3. Where’s Jason Thompson?

Thompson’s scoring has been nonexistent, and his defense is beginning to wane too. The big man is averaging 2.8 points per night (his previous career-low was 7.1 last season) shooting 29.4 percent on field goals and 25 percent on free throws. In addition, early foul trouble in recent games hasn’t helped Thompson find his rhythm on both sides of the floor. Adversary Zach Randolph is a classic low post scorer with defensive limitations, so the King has a favorable matchup for his own strengths.

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About: Rui Thomas

Rui Thomas is a writer and reporter for Cowbell Kingdom. He previously covered the Sacramento Kings and the NBA for Sports Out West. He is published by Sports Illustrated’s Truth and Rumors and Yahoo Sports NFL among others.