The Sacramento Kings are winding down the season, and possibly with ping pong balls on their mind, the powers that be decided that DeMarcus Cousins would sit out tonights game. The game never really felt in danger at any point, and the Memphis Grizzlies kept the Kings safely at arms length to win 97-83.
But while the Grizzlies maintained a comfortable lead from the second quarter onwards, the game was close enough where some kind of irrational hope remained. Rudy Gay came out firing away against the team that drafted him, scoring 24 points on 18 shots in only 29 minutes before getting knocked out of the game by an errant Marc Gasol elbow in the third quarter. But besides Gay, there just wasn't much offensive firepower from the Kings. The Grizzlies are an excellent defensive team, and the only other Kings scoring in double figures were Ray McCallum (12 points) and an aggressive but ineffective Derrick Williams (10 points). The Kings once again got disappointingly little production from Ben McLemore, who only scored 7 points on 9 shots. Ben has a lot of work to do in the offseason on his game off the dribble.
On the other side of the court, the Grizzlies slowly and efficiently ground the Kings into the ground. Four Memphis players scored in double figures, and while standout center Gasol had an off game, Kosta Koufos came off the bench and had a major impact on the glass. The Kings had trouble getting out to Memphis' shooters, who missed a ton of open looks but still hit 8 three pointers at a 35% clip.
Basically, this is a game that was never really in doubt. Without Cousins and Darren Collison, and with 2/3 of a game from Rudy Gay, there was simply little chance of the Kings beating the #3 seed in the Western Conference, the Grizzlies' recent struggles aside. George Karl had the chance to experiment some more with lineups, the Kings never really let the game get out of hand, so its not as if the result was utterly disastrous, pending the results of Gay's concussion evaluation. The Kings next play the Rockets on Wednesday.
- David Wear got his NBA debut tonight with two minutes of garbage time to go. Wear passed up a three pointer, grabbed an offensive rebound, and had a three knocked down in his face. Welcome to the big leagues kid!
- Zach Randolph must hate playing the Kings. Reggie Evans and Jason Thompson were incredibly physical with him all game, including JT drawing a technical foul on a Zbo lashout. Gasol also got a good dose of Reggie love, somehow tearing his jersey in the first quarter.
- Sauce Castillo was effective tonight off the bench. He didn't get many opportunities to shoot, but grabbed 5 rebounds and dished three assists. I wish he would be more aggressive looking for his shot because at times the bench doesn't know where to go looking for quality shots.
- Seldom-used Carl Landry came in and provided a little bit of spark. Although he seems to be out of place in Karl's rotation, the Kings were desperate, and this was the type of game where Landry was useful.