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Kings vs. Grizzlies Preview: Let there be no mistake about the result of this game

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Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

November ends with one more tough game as the Memphis Grizzlies head to town for the start of a long homestand.  Sacramento should be going into this game with a chip on their shoulder after letting a 26 point lead slip away the last time they played in Memphis.  Today's action tips off at 3:00 pm today on Comcast SportsNet California and on KHTK 1140.

3 THINGS TO LOOK FOR

1.  The Grizzlies are for real, with a top five defense and a top ten offense.  In ways, they're a similar team to Sacramento but on a more experienced level.  They like to play physical and play through their big men in the paint.  Like the Kings, Memphis is not a prolific three point shooting team, although they have a few good shooters in Mike Conley, Courtney Lee and Vince Carter.  The Kings will have a much higher chance of success if they can keep the Grizzlies from getting easy buckets in the paint.

2.  I fully expect the Kings to be amped up for this match after what happened last time, but the Grizzlies are a veteran team and should be expecting that.  The Kings got the jump on Memphis last time, dropping 38 points in the first quarter and then pushing their lead all the way to 26 points.  Coach Joerger is going to remind these guys about that and I think we'll see a Grizzlies team determined not to fall behind early and instead put Sacramento on the defensive.

3.  Mike Conley's dribble penetration was a big factor in Memphis' comeback win last time.  Conley scored 11 points and dished out 3 assists in the final quarter of the game as the Grizzlies overcame a 17 point deficit with 7:37 left in the game.  Darren Collison is a good defender, but defending Conley will be a team effort, and the team will have to defend for 48 minutes, something they haven't been able to show they can do consistently yet (especially when the starters are out).

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Marc Gasol vs. DeMarcus Cousins

The impetus behind Memphis' hot start has been the continued growth of Marc Gasol.  Gasol is not just a defensive force anymore, he's turned into a formidable scorer.  His scoring has jumped from 14.6 points per game last year to a career-high 20.2 points per game this year, and that's in addition to his continued excellent passing ability.  In a sense, it's the opposite for Cousins, who has shown huge improvement on defense.  This will be a battle of the big men, and whichever player gets the best of the other, that team has a much higher chance of winning.

PREGAME LIMERICK

There once was a clock set at 0.3,
which was too much time for Courtney Lee.
He got the hoop
with a quick scoop,
and the opinion of a blind referee.

PREDICTION

Kings 104, Grizzlies 103 after Ben McLemore makes a game-winning layup with 0.0000003 seconds left.