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Kings vs. Grizzlies Preview: Bear Trap!

Both the Kings and Grizzlies started the season red hot. With the Grizzlies flaming out quickly, are the Kings next to drop deep into the Western Conference cellar?

KImani Okearah

The last time Kings fans saw the Grizzlies, the buzzer was sounding on a loss that solidified in the minds of many that the Kings hot start just wasn’t going to last. The Grizzlies were 9-5 and finding ways to squeeze out wins without their numbers doing anything special for them, and the Kings though fun to watch, just weren’t going to hang around when the stuff hit the fan. Things have, umm, changed a bit since then. The former #1 team in the Western Conference after a good little chunk of the season flew high enough to singe their waxy wings and like all bears that wear wings using wax as the adhesive, they have fallen, and fallen fast. Having lost 13 of their last 14 games and 18 of their last 21, the Grizz find themselves at the very bottom of the West with only the Suns breaking their fall below them. It’s not a trap game. It’s not a trap game. It’s not ... a ... trap ... game.

Let’s talk Kings basketball!

When: Friday, January 25th, 5 PM PST

Where: Fedex Forum, Memphis, TN


Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

The Buzzer Tolls for Thee: So, after far more success than Kings fans had ever dreamt of to begin the first half of this season, the next 10-15 games are going to have to be a transition in the minds of many fans. The Kings record and placement in the Western Conference screams out that they’re a hot streak away from being in the thick of the playoff hunt; their disappointing play in January has started to show a team wearing out. This next stretch of games is going to really force a lot of us Kings fans to re-examine yet again what the hell is going on in this season where anything goes. The Sacramento Kings have been the proverbial snowball in Hell all season, and we’re starting to see some tell tale signs of condensation running down the sides. The shadow of doubt has crept across the minds of Kings fans.

So let’s take this Memphis Grizzlies team, for example. By most measurements, they’re a bad team. They played well to start the season. They were pulling wins out of the ether sometimes and many just figured, well of course they’re good, Mike and Marc are back. They were briefly #1 in the Western Conference, and things were going swimmingly for Memphis. But over time, that hasn’t held up under the immense pressure that is the NBA schedule, and when they hit crushing pressure in the West, they folded like an empty soda under a big rig wheel. The Western Conference is deep and the Grizzlies are headed towards an anglerfish status of living. The Kings are able to beat this team. The Kings - even with their energy sapped, budding star point guard banged up and their head coach cursed to roam the Earth as the Foster Freeze mascot in his off time, should beat the Grizzlies. And if they don’t, hey, time to again adjust our expectations for a team that has far exceeded most of our original hopes. Diving into some numbers here; The Grizzlies are the lowest scoring team in the NBA, go at the NBA’s slowest pace, attempt the NBA’s lowest amount of field goals, grab the lowest amount of total rebounds per game and make the fourth least amount of threes on the seventh worst percentage in the league. I mean, they give up 37.1% three point shooting from their opponents, a stat that screams 40 point game for a certain King who is currently shooting 54% from open three point territory. The Grizzlies are tailor-made for Kings consumption.

And yet, I’d venture to guess this game is close, for no other reason than the Kings being the Kings and the creeping shadow of doubt that has begun to wiggle into fans over the recent weeks is there for a reason. The Grizzlies backslid in a way that, though unfortunate to Memphis fans, pretty much made sense with their current coaching staff and roster construction. Applying similar thinking for The Scores, if the Kings are going to regress to the mean, the season might start getting painful rather quickly. Games that Sacramento should win, but lose will probably be that first indicator. The Kings have lost three of their last four by an average of 21 points and two of those teams the Kings probably should have beat, or at least kept it competitive. Their one win in that four game stretch was due only to that Chavano Miracle Chuck. A loss tonight at the hands of a battered and weary Grizzlies team could be the period at the end of the sentence “The Kings aren’t quite good enough.”

The Kings have exceeded every goal set for them by talking heads and blog boys like me, and if the Kings aren’t quite good enough, that’s better than most ever thought they’d be this season. Only time will tell, but a Grizzlies win tonight would definitely be a wink and a nod in that direction.


In a case of mistaken identity, Willie Cauley-Stein is mistaken for a Sactown Royalty writer and is detained then barred from entering Memphis. Starting in his stead, Marvin Bagley drops a massive double double of 28 points, 15 rebounds and every dunk he drops on the head of dueling partner Jaren Jackson Jr. he points to Dave Joerger and then goes into a motion that looks suspiciously like someone pulling the handle and serving themselves some frozen yogurt. Buddy Hield scores 30, De’Aaron “don’t jump” Fox puts one on Marc Gasol.

Willie receives probation, but in return, is permitted only Arby’s and their accommodations if he wants BBQ of any kind for the remainder of his life.

Kings 122, Grizzlies 108