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Kings vs. Grizzlies Preview: Sacramento looks for a strong finish to the road trip

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Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings suffered a major collapse in their previous game against the Dallas Mavericks, giving up a 24 point second quarter lead.  There's still a chance to make this a successful road trip however, as a win in Memphis tonight will see the Kings coming back 2-2, a fine record against quality opponents.  Sacramento will also likely have Darren Collison back which will help. Tonight's action tips off at 5:00 pm this afternoon on Comcast SportsNet California and on KHTK 1140.

3 THINGS TO LOOK FOR

1. Memphis matches up exceedingly well against the Kings at every position.  Gasol can guard Cousins by himself, Z-Bo can overpower our Power Forwards, Tony Allen and Courtney Lee can handle Gay and McLemore, and Mike Conley can attack Darren Collison on both ends.  The Memphis bench is also better than ours.  This is a tough, tough opponent, 3rd in defensive rating and an even tougher matchup for the Kings in particular.

2. The Grizzlies do have weaknesses, and funnily enough they're similar to Sacramento's.  The Grizzlies are a poor three point shooting team, shooting the 4th least attempts in the league (although they've converted a good percentage).  They also don't have much rim protection (28th in blocks), depending on their defense keeping opponents out of the paint in the first place.  If Sacramento can make Memphis into a jump shooting team, that will help considerably.

3. Ramon Sessions started in place of Darren Collison on Tuesday in Dallas and while he still had issues on defense and running the offense, he finally found his shot, scoring 18 points.  With Collison's return to the starting lineup, the Kings bench unit could really use a scoring punch like what Sessions provided against the Mavs so hopefully his scoring is here to stay.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

DeMarcus Cousins vs. Marc Gasol

DeMarcus Cousins has had a rough road trip in terms of opponents.  There are so few big men that defend DeMarcus Cousins well and Cousins has seen three of them this week, ending with perhaps the best of all in Marc Gasol tonight.  Gasol also happens to be the most offensively capable in terms of both scoring and passing.  Last year in two games against the Grizzlies, Cousins shot just 10 for 31 (32.3%) from the field, his lowest mark against any opponent.  The Kings are a worse team when Cousins isn't at his best, and Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies are not going to give him anything easy.

PREGAME LIMERICK

In Dallas we had a collapse,
a momentous failure perhaps.
But it's a new day,
let's play the right way,
and avoid an embarrassing relapse.

PREDICTION

Kings 144, Grizzlies 37 after the entire Grizzlies team aside from Zach Randolph accepts DeMarcus Cousins' double dog dare to eat a ghost pepper after the first quarter.