NBA

Preview: Kings end homestand vs. shorthanded Grizzlies

Mar 18, 2024, 8:41 AM

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - JANUARY 29: Keegan Murray #13 of the Sacramento Kings posts up against Scotty ...

(Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

Following a hard-fought loss to the New York Knicks on Saturday night, the Sacramento Kings will conclude a season-long, six-game homestand on Monday night at Golden 1 Center.

The Kings (38-28) will look to bounce back from their loss against the severely shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies (23-45), who will enter play without the services of Ja Morant, Luke Kennard, Marcus Smart, Brandon Clarke, and more against Sacramento.

While the Grizzlies will face the Kings without a significant portion of its rotation, that doesn’t mean that Monday’s contest will be a walk in the park for Sacramento, especially not against a Memphis defense that is currently ranked ninth in opponent points per game (112.3) and 11th in defensive rating (113.9).

Led by Jaren Jackson Jr., the reigning defensive player of the year, the Grizzlies also rank in the top five in blocks per game (6.2, fourth in the NBA) and steals per game (7.9, fifth).

The Kings have fared well against Memphis this season, holding a 2-0 record against the Grizzlies while winning each game by an average of  20 points. Can Sacramento secure another win against a sub-500 opponent as they continue to chase a playoff spot in the loaded Western Conference?

YouTube video

Sacramento Kings vs. Memphis Grizzlies Game Info

When: 7:00 PM PST

Where: Golden 1 Center  – Sacramento, CA

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Coverage starts at 5:30 PM on Game Night

Line: Kings -9.5, O/U 221.5

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Grizzlies coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.

Waking Up The Offense

The Kings finished Saturday’s loss to New York with 91 points—their second-lowest-scoring game of the season—on 35 percent shooting from the field (their second-lowest mark this year) and 27 percent from beyond the arc.

“I feel like a lot of it, we just didn’t make shots,” De’Aaron Fox said when asked what went wrong against the Knicks. “That’s a good defensive team, and you have to be able to capitalize on their mistakes, and I don’t think we did that tonight.”

Sacramento missed several open looks against New York, with players like Fox (5/19 FG), Harrison Barnes (5/13 FG), Keegan Murray (3/12 FG), and Malik Monk (6/14 FG) struggling from the field.

In games that Sacramento has struggled on offense, losses usually follow:

  • Scoring under 100 points: 0-8
  • Shooting under 45% FG: 2-15
  • Shooting under 35% 3PT: 8-19

“I thought we did enough defensively tonight, but we just didn’t spray the ball tonight,” head coach Mike Brown said of his team’s failure to move the ball around the perimeter.

Saturday’s game was an outlier for a Kings team that has scored 120+ points in four of the past six games. Sacramento holds a 33-4 record (.841) when scoring 120 points or more, meaning that if they can bounce back against a depleted–although tough–Grizzlies defense, an ideal result will likely follow.

Calm Before The Storm

If the Kings want to secure a top-six spot in the Western Conference, they will need to take care of business against their remaining sub-500 opponents.

Sacramento holds a 16-7 (.695) record against sub-500 teams this season, meaning that the upcoming slate of games against the Grizzlies (23-45), Toronto Raptors (23-44), and Washington Wizards (11-56) could give themselves some breathing room in the standings.

Of course, just because the Kings are facing a lowly opponent, a win is far from guaranteed. Sacramento has a laundry list of ugly losses to losing teams this season, such as the Charlotte Hornets (17-51), Detroit Pistons (12-55), and Portland Trail Blazers (19-48).

The three-game stretch against losing teams will act as a lead-in to the Kings’ final stretch of the season–a 13-game sprint to the finish that will only include three games against teams with sub-500 records.

This week could be Sacramento’s final cushy portion of its schedule before the playoff race comes to a head during the final weeks of the regular season. Can the Kings make up for the ugly losses that transpired earlier in the year, or will they squander an opportunity to gain ground in the standings?

Kings vs. Grizzlies Injury Report

Sacramento

  • Trey Lyles – OUT (left knee sprain)
  • Sasha Vezenkov – OUT (right ankle sprain)

Memphis

  • Ja Morant – OUT (right shoulder labral repair)
  • Brandon Clarke – OUT (left achilles tendon repair)
  • Luke Kennard – OUT (personal reasons)
  • Yuta Watanabe – OUT (personal reasons)
  • Derrick Rose – OUT (right groin, low-back injury recovery)
  • Marcus Smart – OUT (right ring finger, central slip tear)
  • Ziaire Williams – OUT (right low-back, hip flexor strain)
  • Lamar Stevens – OUT (left adductor strain)
  • Scotty Pippen Jr. – OUT (left shin soreness)
  • Vince Williams Jr. DOUBTFUL – (left patellar tendonitis)

Upcoming Schedule

  • Monday, March 18th – Sacramento Kings vs. Memphis Grizzlies – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, March 20th – Sacramento Kings @ Toronto Raptors – 4:30 PM PST
  • Thursday, March 21st – Sacramento Kings @ Washington Wizards – 4:00 PM PST
  • Saturday, March 23rd – Sacramento Kings @ Orlando Magic – 4:00 PM PST
  • Monday, March 25th – Sacramento Kings vs. Philadelphia 76ers – 7:00 PM PST

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