The Memphis Grizzlies are a team that the Kings have struggled with in recent years and for good reason. Memphis is a good, sometimes very good team, and they match up well with Sacramento at every position. The loss of Rudy Gay has not changed that.
Still, the Kings managed to play a relatively good game for the most part, even in a losing effort, something that has not been the case on the road for much of the season. Six Kings scored in double digits, led by DeMarcus Cousins' 23 points and Tyreke Evans' 20. Sacramento had 20 assists and shot 46.5% from the field and became the only opposing team this season to break the 100 point mark in Memphis. Sacramento even outscored Memphis in the paint (58 to 48), fast break points (28 to 13) and points off turnovers (26 to 8).
Offense wasn't the problem. It was Sacramento's league worst defense that stood out in the loss. The Grizzlies shot 54.7% from the field and 46.2% from three. Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 24 points on 13 shots and Mike Conley scored 22 on 13 shots. The real kicker was seeing defensive specialist Tony Allen score 19 points on 8-12 shooting in 33 minutes. Allen averaged 8.4 points per game coming into tonight's game.
The Grizzlies were able to gain some separation from the Kings in the 3rd quarter, when they came out of halftime and went on an 8-2 run to start the quarter. The Kings got it back to a one point game soon after, but it was short lived, as Memphis went on another run to end the quarter, capped off by a Jerryd Bayless three to make it an 11 point game. The Kings couldn't make any real headway in the fourth against the lead, getting as close as 6 points but no more.
In the end, it was a step in the right direction for the Kings on the road, but a loss nonetheless. Hopefully they can keep the same attitude tomorrow against the Mavericks in Dallas to head into the All-Star break on a positive note.
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