Down to just three games on the season, the Sacramento Kings travel to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies. It’s a homecoming for Dave Joerger and his staff, as well as veterans Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos and Vince Carter, who all spent time with the Grizz.
Sacramento is coming off a tough 97-94 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday evening. Bogdan Bogdanovic led the way with 22 points, but rookie Justin Jackson also posted a solid game. Jackson finished the night with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting and added eight rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block in a career-high 42 minutes of action.
After dropping 19 straight, the Grizzlies have played better of late, going 3-7 over their last 10. They sit most of their team against Sacramento as they look forward to the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery.
Grizzlies by 3
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Buddy Hield vs. MarShon Brooks -- Hield is finishing strong for Sacramento, posting big scoring numbers on a nightly basis. He’s found a home coming off the Kings’ bench and is showing major signs of improvement during the post All-Star break schedule. Brooks has been out of the league for three seasons, but since joining the Grizzlies three games ago, he’s posting 23.3 points a night on 57.1 percent shooting from the field and 64.7 percent from long range. Before signing with Memphis, Brooks averaged 36.6 points per game for Jiangsu Nangang of the Chinese Basketball Association.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 25-54, fourth place in Pacific
Grizzlies: 21-57, fifth place in Southwest
Kings: PF Skal Labissiere (left ankle sprain) out, SG Garrett Temple (left ankle sprain) out, SG/SF Iman Shumpert (knee rehab and plantar fasciitis) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) is out for the season.
Grizzlies: C Marc Gasol (rest) out, PG Mike Conley (left heel) out, SG Andrew Harrison (wrist and shoulder) out, SF Chandler Parsons (knee) out, PF JaMychal Green (knee soreness) out, SG Wayne Selden (knee soreness), SF Tyreke Evans (personal) out, PF Jarell Martin (ankle) out.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
Ignore the DNP -- Memphis is sitting most of their roster. The Kings will face a group of fringe NBA players, like Brooks, Kobi Simmons, Myke Henry and Ivan Raab. Even former King, Ben McLemore, is hanging onto his career by a thread. Sacramento is sitting plenty of players as well, but not like what we are seeing from the Grizz. At some point the league needs to make changes. Until then, you play the man lined up across from you, many of which are playing for their NBA lives.
Find your shot -- Nigel Hayes is getting an opportunity to play with Sacramento. He’s shooting just 15.4 percent from the floor in his first two games, but his teammates have been seen encouraging him to continue to hoist it up. He has three more games to make an impression. There’s no time to be shy when you’re fighting for your NBA dream.
Finish strong -- The Kings finish the season with San Antonio and Houston. The Rockets are the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and the Spurs are a perennial contender. The Grizzlies might be Sacramento’s last chance to pick up a win in the 2017-18 season. With Memphis laying down, the Kings might as well run over the them.
Memphis owns a 2-0 lead in the season-series and have an opportunity for a sweep. The Kings hold a 45-40 advantage over the Grizzlies all-time.