SACRAMENTO KINGS

Preview: Barnes, Kings seek 3-0 start to road trip vs. Grizzlies

Jan 29, 2024, 10:07 AM | Updated: 11:28 am

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 23: Harrison Barnes #40 of the Sacramento Kings shoots a three-poi...

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Things appeared bleak for the Sacramento Kings on January 18th.

After losing their season-long fourth consecutive game, the Kings had arrived at a fork in the road when it came to their season. With less than two weeks until the February 8th trade deadline, bouncing back was imperative for this group that has been largely intact since the start of last season.

As was the case during last year’s sprint towards the postseason, Sacramento (26-18) has responded to adversity by following up a four-game skid with three straight wins.

The Kings will look to extend its winning streak and start a seven-game road trip with a 3-0 record on Monday night when they face a Memphis Grizzlies (18-28) team that will be without Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Marcus Smart, and Steven Adams.

While the Grizzlies are severely shorthanded, they have won three of their past four games, meaning that Sacramento is in no place to take this team lightly.

We’ve seen the Kings fall to shorthanded teams repeatedly, and Sacramento will have a chance to continue flipping the narrative as they seek a fourth-straight victory that would put themselves at a season-high nine games over the .500 mark.

Sacramento Kings vs. Memphis Grizzlies Game Info

When: 5:00 PM PST

Where: FedEx Forum – Memphis, TN

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Coverage starts at 3:30 PM on Game Night

Line: Kings -8.5, O/U 222.5

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Grizzlies coverage, beginning at 3:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 5:00 PM PST tip-off from Memphis.

Will The Black Falcon Keep Soaring?

Harrison Barnes has been a completely different player for Sacramento during this three-game winning streak.

Barnes, who entered play on January 22nd searching for his first 20+ point game since November, has averaged 30.3 points on 54 percent shooting from the field and an incredible 55 percent from three-point range (9.0 attempts per game) over the past three contests–all wins.

The Kings have switched up their game plan and lifted Barnes from a fifth option to a feature in an offense that was struggling to generate consistency as defenses swarmed star guard De’Aaron Fox.

With Barnes showing signs of life, Kevin Huerter playing his best basketball of the season, and Fox back in his early-season form following a brief rough stretch, Sacramento’s offense has reverted to its record-breaking 2022-23 self.

If Barnes tops the 20-point mark on Monday, it was mark the first time in nearly two years that the forward has scored 20+ points in four or more consecutive games (5, Feb. 3-12, 2022).

The Kings hold a 4-1 record when Barnes scores 20+ points this season, adding to the narrative that good things happen when ‘The Black Falcon’ is on his A-game.

Make A Statement

Sacramento can improve to a season-high nine games over the .500 mark with a win. For a team that has turned around and righted the ship following a rough stretch, a win–sans late-game drama–would go a long way during a two-week road trip.

The last time the Kings set foot at FedEx Forum on New Year’s Eve, they faced a mostly healthy Grizzlies team that had recently gotten Ja Morant back from a 25-game suspension while Desmond Bane was building a case for his first All-Star appearance.

In what was arguably Sacramento’s most impressive win of the season, they dominated Memphis en route to a 123-92 win. The Kings should use their final game in 2023 as a reference point for Monday’s action.

As mentioned earlier, Sacramento struggles to handle business against shorthanded opponents. Just last game in Dallas, the Kings saw a 23-point lead with ten minutes to go get reduced to three with seven seconds on the clock.

YouTube video

Five of Sacramento’s past six games have been decided by five points or less. Winning games with ease is rare for the Kings, but a convincing win would go a long way in adding to what has been an impressive bounce-back streak for the Beam Team.

Keep an eye on Sacramento’s offense, as the Kings have lit up opponents over the past six games to the tune of 126.0 points on 51 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent from three-point range.

The Grizzlies’ offense might be the NBA’s worst, but they continue to pose a problem on the defensive end as they enter play with the league’s ninth-best defensive rating.

While Memphis has held opponents to 47.3 points in the paint per game (7th in NBA), their three-point defense has struggled as the Grizz have allowed teams to shoot 38 percent from deep this season (26th in NBA).

Sacramento has a mostly-healthy roster, rest, and an opportunity to continue its push in solidifying itself as a top-six seed in the Western Conference standings. Memphis will take the floor missing several key players on the second night of a back-to-back.

Good teams take care of business in situations like these, and it’s time to see if the Kings can do so without getting into another late-game situation.

Kings vs. Grizzlies Injury Report

Sacramento

  • Sasha Vezenkov – QUESTIONABLE (right ankle sprain)
  • Jordan Ford – OUT (G-League)
  • Jalen Slawson – OUT (G-League)

Memphis

Upcoming Schedule

  • Monday, January 29th – Sacramento Kings @ Memphis Grizzlies – 5:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, January 31st – Sacramento Kings @ Miami Heat – 4:30 PM PST
  • Friday, February 2nd – Sacramento Kings @ Indiana Pacers – 4:30 PM PST
  • Saturday, February 3rd – Sacramento Kings @ Chicago Bulls – 5:00 PM PST
  • Monday, February 5th – Sacramento Kings @ Cleveland Cavaliers – 4:00 PM PST

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