Gameday: Emotional 2017 finale for a pair of Kings vs Grizzlies


Gameday: Emotional 2017 finale for a pair of Kings vs Grizzlies

SACRAMENTO -- Which Kings team shows up? After a big win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, followed by a loss to the Phoenix Suns on Friday evening, Sacramento draws a Memphis Grizzlies team playing on the second night of a back-to-back on Sunday evening.

Seven players scored in double-figures against the Suns, including a team-high 14 from Zach Randolph. But the Kings struggled on the glass and couldn’t get stops in crunch time as they let a winnable game slip away on their home floor.

Memphis got a front row seat to Steph Curry’s return to the court on Saturday. The two-time MVP rained down from the perimeter, hitting 10-of-13 triples in the Warriors 141-128 win over the Grizz. Marc Gasol and Tyreke Evans put up big numbers, but it was all Golden State.  

Kings by 3

George Hill vs. Tyreke Evans -- Hill has been up and down all season long for Sacramento. If the Kings hope to come away with a win, they need their $20 million man to play big against Evans. The two-time former King is having a revival in his first year with the Grizzlies. Evans is posting 19.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 30.8 minutes a night for Memphis. He may have found a home after bouncing around a bit over the last few years.

Kings: 12-23, fourth place in Pacific

Grizzlies: 11-25, last place in Southwest

Kings: PG De’Aaron Fox (thigh tear) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) is out until January at the earliest.

Grizzlies: PG Mike Conley (Achilles) out, G Wayne Selden (quad) out, SF Chandler Parsons (rest) sat out Friday’s loss to Golden State and his status is unknown.

Just another game? -- The Kings are chalked full of former Grizzlies, including Zach Randolph, Vince Carter and Kosta Koufos, as well as head coach Dave Joerger. This is the first time Z-Bo will face his former club since leaving for Sacramento over the summer. Eight seasons is long time to spend with one franchise in the modern NBA. It should be an emotional evening.

To Skal or not to Skal -- After three games on the shelf, second-year big man Skal Labissiere played 15 minutes Friday night against the Suns. He produced 12 points and four rebounds, but his spot in the rotation is anything but guaranteed. Will he see court time or head back to the bench?

Stop the rollercoaster, it’s time to get off -- The Kings looked bad in their loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday. They looked like world beaters against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday and then they came back to Earth against the Suns Friday night at Golden 1 Center. Consistently inconsistent is the only description that fits for this club right now.

These two teams split their season series 2-2 last season. The Kings hold a 45-38 advantage over the Grizzlies all-time.  

“It’s a game I look forward to, of course. I spent almost a decade there. All my friends on the team - it’s going to be fun.” -Zach Randolph on playing the Memphis Grizzlies for the first time since leaving for Sacramento

After upsetting Warriors, Kings battle schedule with fifth game in seven days


After upsetting Warriors, Kings battle schedule with fifth game in seven days

No break. After a surprising win Friday night on the road over the Warriors, the Kings hopped a flight to Utah where they’ll face the Jazz on the second night of a back-to-back Saturday evening. 

Buddy Hield came out firing off the Kings bench against Golden State, scoring 22 points on 5-of-10 shooting from long range. The shooting guard added seven rebounds and seven assists in one of his more complete games of the season.

Utah is in a fight for playoff position. They are currently tied with the Spurs for the seventh spot in the Western Conference chase, just a half game behind the Pelicans for the six seed. The Jazz have won eight straight and 20 of their last 22 games. 


Jazz by 15.5


Kings vs. The Pick-and-Roll -- Utah is one of the better pick-and-roll teams in the league. Rookie Donovan Mitchell is explosive and patient at the guard position and Rudy Gobert is a monster rolling to the rack. The Jazz have shooters all around the perimeter waiting for the kick out. This is a very good team playing at an elite level right now.


Kings: 23-47, fourth place in Pacific

Jazz: 39-30, fourth place in Northwest


Kings: SG/SF Iman Shumpert (plantar fasciitis) out, F Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.

Jazz: PG Ricky Rubio (knee) probable, C Tony Bradley (concussion) questionable, PG Raul Neto (wrist) out, SF Thabo Sefolosha (knee) out.


Rookie Watch -- Mitchell has been spectacular this season for Jazz. The Kings will combat the high-flying rookie with a pair of first-year guards of their own in Fox and Bogdanovic. It’s not often that a player comes into the league and makes an impact on a franchise like Mitchell has in his first NBA season.

The Gobstopper -- Gobert is a monster in the post. He plays the pick-and-roll to perfection with Mitchell and he is an absolute force on the defensive end. Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos will have to make his work on both ends of the court if the Kings have a chance of upsetting the Jazz. 

Put up a Fight -- This is the fifth game in seven nights for the Kings. It’s also a brutal back-to-back, with less than 24 hours between games. The key to this game is to escape with the team’s health intact, but it would be nice if they could make a strong showing in a difficult situation.


The Jazz hold a 2-0 advantage in the season series and they’ve won four straight over the Kings. Utah leads the all-time series 104-82 and holds a 81-49 advantage during the Sacramento-era.

Bogdanovic, Kings look to beat Warriors at Oracle for second time this season


Bogdanovic, Kings look to beat Warriors at Oracle for second time this season

No rest for the weary. The Kings hit game four of their five games in seven nights stretch. They’ll draw a beat up, but dangerous Golden State Warriors team Friday night at Oracle Arena.

Sacramento is coming off a wild overtime win against the playoff bound Miami Heat on Wednesday. De’Aaron Fox hit a floater as time expired to push the game to overtime and fellow rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic drilled a late 3-pointer to put the game away late in the extra session.

Golden State trails the Houston Rockets by two games for the top overall seed in the Western Conference playoff chase. They’ve already clinched another Pacific division title, but they are at risk for missing out on the top seed. Every game counts as they hit the stretch run.


Warriors by 12


Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Zaza Pachulia -- It might not be the matchup people bought tickets to see, but it’s the matchup they’re going to get. With the Warriors banged up, Pachulia has stepped up and filled a valuable role in the middle. He’s strong as an ox and does all the dirty work. Cauley-Stein is getting his legs back under him after missing 10 days with a back strain. He’s improved in year four, but still needs to work on his consistency.  


Kings: 22-47, fourth place in Pacific

Warriors: 52-16, first place in Pacific


Kings: PF Skal Labissiere (hip contusion) questionable, SF/SG Iman Shumpert (knee rehab/plantar fasciitis) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out until January.

Warriors: PF Jordan Bell (ankle) probable, PG Quinn Cook (hand contusion) probable, PF David West (arm cyst) probable, SF Kevin Durant (ribs soreness) out, PG Steph Curry (ankle) out, SG Klay Thompson (thumb) out, SG Patrick McGaw (wrist) out.


Wounded Warriors -- Golden State will play without three of their four All-Stars. The Kings took advantage of the Warriors early in the season when they were the similar situation of missing All-Stars. Sacramento needs to stay the course and continue to play with effort as they finish the schedule, regardless of who suits up for their opponent.

Big Moments -- If there is one thing that stands out in the 2017-18 season for Sacramento, it’s the clutch plays by the young players. Fox has four shots in his rookie season that either won or tied a game in the final seconds. Bogdanovic, Skal Labissiere and Buddy Hield have come through with big shots as well.  

Come Out Firing -- The best way to beat the Warriors is to make them work for their shots. The best way to make them work for their shots is to score baskets and set up the defense. If the Kings can put up an efficient offensive night, they have a shot of dethroning the shorthanded champs.


The Kings and Warriors are all knotted at one game apiece in the season series. Golden State holds a 201-187 lead in the all-time series and a 73-66 advantage during the Sacramento-era.