The Kings face Memphis for the second time this season, the first being Sacramento's virgin victory of the season, an overtime triumph in which Kevin Martin broke his wrist but still scored 48, in which Allen Iverson played his first of three games with the Grizzlies, and in which Spencer Hawes injected himself into the starting line-up. In that game, Tyreke Evans (two points, three rebounds, four assists) and Jason Thompson (seven points, five rebounds, two assists, two blocks) were mostly ineffective; J.T. fouled out in 28-1/2 minutes of work. Hawes had a brilliant, brilliant 21-point, 11-rebound, 7-assist, 2-block effort. Omri Casspi, Beno Udrih and Andres Nocioni combined for 44 points on 30 FGAs off the bench, and Martin had potentially the best or second-best game of his career, adding five rebounds, four assists, four steals and a block to his hyperefficient 48. He sat for only 32 seconds. It was his second-to-last game before surgery.
For Memphis, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol inflicted much of the damage. Randolph had 30 points and 16 rebounds before fouling out in overtime. Gasol had 16 and 16. The other three Memphis starters -- O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay and Mike Conley -- were fairly inefficient. Hasheem Thabeet had a glorious 54-second stint, registering all of one foul. And nothing else.
Since that night, Memphis has won three (awful Wolves, awful Clippers and mediocre Sixers) and lost six. Most recently, Memphis gave up a late lead at home to Brandon Jennings and the Bucks, losing 103-98. Coach Lionel Hollins used a short bench, playing only eight players. This is Memphis's final home game before a five-game Thanksgiving road trip.
Memphis is one of the league's best rebounding teams. The Grizzlies are also quite good at drawing fouls and avoiding defensive fouls. However, the Grizzlies do everything else terribly. And I don't just mean in a basketball sense. Have you ever heard Rudy Gay play tuba? There's a reason for that! O.J. Mayo's crepes Suzette are among the worst ever made in the history of French cuisine. And Marc Gasol is the first Tenneseean to be banned from a skeet shooting range after an unfortunate (and completely avoidable) mishap involving an Eggo and a natural gas pipeline. (Don't ask.)
THE KEY BATTLE
Circumstances dictate that, assuming he plays, Evans will battle with Mayo, the larger of Memphis's guards. Martin marked Mayo last time, and did a fine job. Again, contrary to common belief, O.J. is a shooter, not really a slasher. If he does stab into the heart of the defense, he passes off pretty well. The key is to not give him a straight path to daylight. If you do, he'll make you regret it.
Evans should be able to do whatever he wants on Mayo, who is athletic as all get-out but doesn't seem to apply it particularly well on defense.
Spencer Hawes will attempt more threes than Marc Gasol.
BOLD PROCLAMATION II: ELECTRIC BUGALOO
Grant Napear and Jerry Reynolds will not make insensitive remarks regarding Hamed Haddadi's nationality, which is something Clippers fans cannot say of their announcers.
This is a 5PM Pacific start. Game thread at 5, Game Thread II at 6, post-game thread at 7:45, recap in perpertuity.