Friday, April 12, 2024
Sports Gaming Monitor

NBA Preview: Sacramento Kings (26-18) at Memphis Grizzlies (18-28)

The Memphis Grizzlies go from one offensive powerhouse to another when they host the Sacramento Kings on Monday on the second night of a back-to-back.

Making an overnight trip to Indiana, the Grizzlies had the high-powered Pacers bottled up for a half on Sunday, holding the hosts to 51 points while taking a two-point lead.

But Indiana exploded for 41 third-quarter points and, while failing to reach its season average, held on for a 116-110 victory that snapped the Grizzlies’ three-game winning streak.

Next up for Memphis is a well-rested Kings club that has its own three-game winning streak, including victories at the first two stops of a seven-game road trip. Sacramento opened the trip with a 134-133 win at Golden State on Thursday before following up with a 120-115 decision over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.

De’Aaron Fox led the way against the Mavericks with 34 points after Harrison Barnes had been a surprising scoring leader in two straight games, going for 32 and 39 points before contributing 20 to the Dallas win.

Barnes deflected the credit to team stars Fox and Domantas Sabonis, who have combined for 34 assists during the winning streak, during which Sacramento has averaged 125.3 points per game.

The Kings did just that in an earlier 123-92 romp at Memphis on Dec. 31. It was Sacramento’s largest margin of victory this season and the Grizzlies’ most lopsided home defeat. Fox and Sabonis combined for 16 assists, helping Monk (27 points), Trey Lyles (12), Barnes (11) and Murray (10) score in double figures.

The Grizzlies had allowed an average of 100.7 points during their three-game winning streak, which included beating Toronto and Miami on the road.

Sacramento’s visit tips off a three-game homestand for the Grizzlies, who have been much better on the road (13-13) than at home (5-15) this season. Only the Washington Wizards (three) and Detroit Pistons (four) have fewer home wins.

Having six more home games than road games the rest of the way, Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins realizes the path to a potential playoff berth will go through his home arena, where his club has 21 games remaining.

The Grizzlies remain without Ja Morant (shoulder surgery), Marcus Smart (right ring finger) and Desmond Bane (sprained left ankle). Morant is out for the season, while Smart and Bane aren’t expected back until late February at the earliest.

The Kings and Grizzlies are scheduled to conclude their three-game season series on March 18 in Sacramento.

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