After being eliminated for play-in contention Thursday night on the road in Memphis, the Kings faced the Grizzlies for a second straight game Friday with a chance to eclipse their win total from a season ago.
With their place in the postseason secured, the Grizzlies sat most of their rotational players, turning deep to their bench. The Kings were without four starters and star rookie Tyrese Haliburton as well, and the play on the court looked more like preseason at times than an actual NBA game.
Justise Winslow went off for 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Grizzlies and John Konchar chipped in 15 off the bench for Memphis, who came away with the narrow 107-106 win.
Two-way player Louis King had a career night for Sacramento and the big man duo of Damian Jones and Chimezie Metu went to work against the short-handed Grizz, but it wasn’t enough.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings dropped a second straight in Memphis to fall to 31-40 on the season.
King of Kings
Opportunity doesn’t always knock at the NBA level, but when you are a player climbing to your dreams of making it in the league, you better answer when it does. That is exactly what King did on Friday night in Memphis.
The 22-year-old signed a two-way contract with the Kings just a few weeks back. Playing his fifth game in a Kings uniform, the former Oregon Duck blew up for a career-high 27 points on 10-for-16 shooting. He added nine rebounds, three assists and three steals in 34 minutes of action.
This was a glorified exhibition game, but it was still an opportunity for every player to showcase their skills. King didn’t disappoint.
With Richaun Holmes on the shelf with a knee injury, Jones picked up his third start of the year for the Kings. The 6-foot-11 center made an impact in his time on the court and he continues to show new wrinkles to his game.
In 34 minutes of court time, Jones posted 17 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out three assists. Since joining the Kings on a pair of 10-day contracts, Jones has earned minutes and played well as a defensive specialist in the middle.
He fell short of his career-high of 20 points, but he still made the most of his time on the court.
Metu played well enough this season to earn an upgraded contract. From two-way player to regular roster, the 24-year-old power forward continues to show flashes for the Kings, which may translate to more court time next season.
Starting for the injured Marvin Bagley, Metu scored in double-figures for the fourth straight game, finishing with 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting to go with five rebounds.
Metu has a punch list for the summer. He needs to work on his handles, continue to refine his 3-point shot and figure out how to be more impactful as a rebounder. Saying that, there is a lot to like from the third-year pro.