Kings

Gameday: Memphis homecoming for plenty of Kings

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Gameday: Memphis homecoming for plenty of Kings

Want to get away? After dropping six straight games, the Sacramento Kings hit the road for a season long six-game trip beginning Friday in Memphis. 

It’s a homecoming game for plenty of Kings coaches and players, including Zach Randolph, who is playing in front of a Memphis crowd wearing an opposing jersey for the first time in eight years. Dave Joerger and most of his staff came over from the Grizzlies in the summer of 2016 and Vince Carter and Kosta Koufos spent time in Memphis as well.

Memphis has had a rough season, but two-time former King, Tyreke Evans, has made a tremendous impact in his first season with the team. He’s posting big numbers and looks as healthy as he’s been in years.

BETTING LINE 

Grizzlies by 5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Marc Gasol -- Cauley-Stein is blossoming in his third NBA season. He’s become a reliable scoring and rebounding option for the Kings. He’s improved on the defensive end as well, but guard Gasol is as tough as it gets. The 7-foot-1 Spaniard has an old school game. He can pass, hit you from the outside and work you over in the post. Cauley-Stein will have his hands full with the three-time All-Star big.

WHERE THEY STAND 

Kings: 13-31, fifth place in Pacific

Grizzlies: 15-28, fourth place in Southwest

INJURY REPORT 

Kings: PF Skal Labissiere (left shoulder strain) questionable, PG Frank Mason III (heel) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) is out for the season.

Grizzlies: C Marc Gasol (illness) questionable, PG Mike Conley (Achilles) out, SG Andrew Harrison (shoulder) questionable, SF Chandler Parsons (knee) out, SF James Ennis (calf) out, .

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

Homecoming -- This should be an emotional night for plenty around the Kings team, especially Randolph. The Grizzlies retired the 36-year-old’s No. 50 jersey, making him the first in franchise history to receive the honor. 

Show Improvement -- The Kings are in a funk, but we are seeing steady improvement from plenty of the team’s young players. Bogdan Bogdanovic continues to post up big numbers, including a career-best 25 against the Jazz on Wednesday.

Break the Streak -- A six-game trip is daunting, especially after a rough stretch. If Sacramento can get out of Memphis with a win, it would take plenty of stress off a young team. 

SERIES HISTORY 

These two teams split their season series 2-2 last season, but Memphis went up 1-0 for the 2017-18 campaign with a win at Golden 1 on New Year’s Eve. The Kings hold a 45-39 advantage over the Grizzlies all-time.  

NBA admits missed traveling late in Kings' 105-104 OT loss to Spurs

NBA admits missed traveling late in Kings' 105-104 OT loss to Spurs

Again?

For the third time in a month, the NBA admitted the Kings were victims of an incorrect call late in a loss.

With 1:10 remaining in overtime and the Kings and Spurs tied 102-102 on Friday night, San Antonio guard DeMar DeRozan started to drive into the lane. According to the NBA's Last Two Minute Report, which was released Saturday, DeRozen should be been called for a travel when he came to a stop.

Upon further review, it appears DeRozen's feet slide when he lands after a jump-stop. No call was made and 13 seconds later, Patty Mills was fouled on a missed 3-point attempt.

"DeRozan (SAS) gathers the ball and comes to a stop on two feet, and then slides both feet forward prior to releasing the pass," the league wrote.

Mills only made one of three free throws, but in reality, he never should have gotten three free throws. The Kings should have been granted possession with the game tied and 70 seconds left on the clock.

Instead, San Antonio took a one-point lead and went on to win 105-104.

On Nov. 26, the NBA announced that refs missed a traveling call on Boston's Marcus Smart, who would hit the game-winning shot.

Just 10 days before that, the NBA admitted that refs missed a foul call on LeBron James late in the Kings' 99-97 loss to the Lakers.

[RELATED: Marvin Bagley upgraded to questionable]

At a certain point, the NBA needs to hold its refs accountable, right? How many calls do they have to blow before someone is disciplined?

But if the refs are going to continue to miss calls, maybe one or two can go the Kings' way.

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Kings' Marvin Bagley upgraded to questionable, hopes to return 'soon'

Kings' Marvin Bagley upgraded to questionable, hopes to return 'soon'

The Kings will get second-year big man Marvin Bagley soon.

Sacramento just isn't sure exactly when.

But Bagley, who was cleared for contact earlier in the week, was upgraded to questionable Saturday, according to The Sacramento Bee.

The Kings face MVP candidate Luka Doncic and the Mavericks in Dallas on Sunday.

After practice on Saturday, Bagley told The Athletic's Jason Jones that he doesn't feel the need to play against Doncic, the player he was drafted before and will forever be compared to.

"I’m going in the right direction, I’m almost there," Bagley told Jones. "It’s around the corner for me, I think it’s around the corner. It’s hard to say when, but I’ll be back soon."

Bagley suffered a fractured right thumb in the Kings' season-opening loss to the Suns and has missed 20 games because of the injury.

[RELATED: Hield struggles, Holmes impresses vs. Spurs]

The Kings are in desperate need of Bagley's scoring. After winning seven of 10 games to bring their record to 7-8, the Kings have lost five of their last six and currently sit at 8-13.

The imminent return of Bagley and the looming return of De'Aaron Fox will be a welcome sight for the Kings.