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Kings Out-Ugly Memphis, Defeat Grizzlies 96-92

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Congratulations on beating the old squad, Dave Joerger!

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

A fully-rested DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings defeated Grizzlies in Memphis tonight, 96-92. Another bout of Kings drama also fell on our laps tonight, but more on that later.

Dave Joerger was put in a tough spot heading into his Memphis homecoming. Omri Casspi (illness) joined Rudy Gay on the inactive list, inadvertently pushing Garrett Temple into the starting lineup, a move a lot us have been patiently waiting for since the second week of the season. Temple responded with a huge 17 point, 6 rebound, 4 assist performance that the Kings desperately needed considering how much scoring was out of the lineup tonight.

The Kings outplayed the Grizzlies for a majority of the first half. It wasn’t pretty, mind you, but the King took exceptional care of the basketball, only registering 3 turnovers in the entire first half, and that was enough to hold down a Grizzlies team that wasn’t playing particularly well.

The Kings’ impressive ball security fell apart to an extent in the second half, but it was more of the same ugly, slow basketball that worked for the Kings in the first half. In a lot of ways, they out-Grizzly the Grizzlies. Something about Memphis looked just a little bit off to me. Maybe it was just everyone trying to adjust to Mike Conley’s return to the lineup, but they didn’t look like the big bad Grizzlies we’re used to seeing, especially at home.

Memphis made a late push in the fourth quarter thanks to a ballsy shooting performance by Troy Daniels. I was, of course, expecting the Kings to lose this one in typical Kangz fashion, but they didn’t collapse despite Cousins fouling out and the team already missing Rudy Gay. The offense did, expectedly, grind to a halt without Cuz in there, but the Kings made enough scrappy plays and had one significant travel non-call go their way that they barely managed to keep the Grizzlies down.

I apologize for my lack of excitement. The Kings beat a team above them in the Western Conference standings on the road basically from tipoff to the final whistle. That alone is something worth celebrating, but when neither team shoots over 40% from the field, there is only so much excitement to show. The Kings lost their previous 12 matchups in Memphis, and they won tonight. Bravo.

Profoundly more interesting than tonight’s game in Memphis was the Sacramento Bee’s scathing report on DeMarcus Cousins’ history with the local media. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that The Bee’s report and the followup reporting by multiple media members on Twitter took away some of my focus from the game tonight. It’s a big story. It’s an interesting report. In the interest of not trying to explain my thoughts at 11 PM ET on a Friday night, I’ll just drop the link here.