Well folks, welcome to the last game of 2016! Facing off against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Golden 1 Center, the Kings will be looking to take this early afternoon game as a chance to further solidify their slim hold on the eighth seed in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies come into this game with their own spot in the top 8, with a firm grip on the 7th seed and a five and a half game lead on the Kings, and are also playing some of their best basketball of the season. Having just two days ago beaten the Oklahoma City Thunder by 34 points, the Grizzlies won’t be hibernating at the chance to pad their own post season positioning against a Kings squad that will still be without some of their own. Here’s to being rid of a terrible year in literally everything!
Let’s talk Kings basketball!
When: December 31st, 2:00pm PST
Where: Golden 1 Center, CSN-CA, KHTK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration
Kings Focus: The Grizzlies as a team are pretty terrible offensively for being in the position they’re currently in. Third lowest scoring team in the league, lowest total field goal percentage in the entire league, lowest two point percentage in the entire league and seventh lowest three point percentage; that doesn’t seem sustainable for a group looking to make some waves in playoffs and yet, here they are sitting at 7 games over .500. Being third in the NBA in total field goal attempts, the Grizzlies find themselves with extra possessions, in part, by being a fantastic rebounding team; third in the league in overall rebounds, 8th in offensive and 7th in defensive rebounds. They also work they butts off on the defensive end where they are second in the league in steals. Another way they make up for their terrible shooting woes is by attempting more free throws than all but 3 other teams in the league and hitting them at a 78.1% clip.
Kings fans have seen the Kings get out rebounded over the course of the game time and time again, but if they want to slow a lethargic Grizzlies offense to a dead stop, stay with them on the boards would be a good way to do it. Force them to work on the defensive end is one thing, but giving up more offensive rebounds than usual will just further tire them out. Limiting sloppy passes will do wonders too. These last two games have been a departure from the Kings who began to show signs of a clutch fourth quarter clamp down, and have basically been a reversion back to sloppy play whenever pressure has been applied. Lastly, the Kings need to get to the free throw line tonight. The Grizzlies are the worst team in the league in keeping their hands off of players, and should give ample opportunity to score some freebies, but the Kings have got to be smart enough to draw them and execute from there.
Prediction: This game is going to be ugly. Players’ minds will be halfway to the ball drop before the ball tips on both sides of contest, and it’ll take a quarter to settle down and realize there is a job to be done. DeMarcus is going to get 20 free throw attempts tonight and Akis will have to wait at least one more game; Matt Barnes is going to get some extra run in the name of playing his old squad. The Kings will close out 2016 with an ugly win:
Kings: 96, Grizzlies: 95
Happy New Years Everyone!
Please drink responsibly, and get home safe!