Kings

Kings vs. Grizzlies watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

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Kings vs. Grizzlies watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

Coming off back-to-back losses in Brooklyn and Toronto earlier in the week, the Kings continue their season-long six-game trip Friday in Memphis. They'll take on a Grizzlies team that has dropped seven straight and 13 of their previous 14 games.

Sacramento hung in through three quarters against the Raptors, but let the game slip away in the fourth. Rookie Marvin Bagley III picked up his first career start in the loss and impressed on both ends of the floor. Seven players scored in double-figures against Toronto, but with three Kings starters resting, depth became an issue.

Memphis has won just one game since Dec. 26. Long time franchise cornerstones, Mike Conley Jr. and Marc Gasol, were both informed this week that they are being shopped before the Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline. The two have played together with the Grizzlies for more than a decade, but that run might come to an end over the next two weeks.

Kings Pregame Live on NBC Sports California begins at 4:30 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 5:00. All coverage can be seen on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

Sacramento finishes their six-game road trip Sunday with a stop in Los Angeles to face the Clippers. They'll return home after nearly two weeks away to face the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday at Golden 1 Center.

Line

Grizzlies +2.5

Projected Lineups

Kings

PG De’Aaron Fox
SG Buddy Hield
SF Iman Shumpert
PF Nemanja Bjelica
C Willie Cauley-Stein

Grizzlies

PG Mike Conley Jr.
SG Justin Holiday
SF Garrett Temple
PF Jaren Jackson Jr.
C Marc Gasol

Injury Report

Kings 

No injuries to report.

Grizzlies

SG Garrett Temple (heel) probable, SF Kyle Anderson (ankle) out, G Dillon Books (toe) out.

Rotation Outlook

Kings: Dave Joerger will have a full stable of players to work with after missing three starters Tuesday against the Toronto Raptors. Fox, Shumpert and Bjelica are all expected back in action when the teams faces off with the Grizzlies. The trio sat to rest up and recover after struggling during the month of January.

With Bjelica out of commission against the Raptors, Bagley posted a 22-point, 11-rebounds double-double in the loss. He set new career-highs in both scoring and minutes played, but it wasn't enough to come away with the win.

Bjelica started 46 of the team's 47 games to start the season, but Bagley is building momentum midway through his rookie season and might get consideration as a starter in the near future.

The Kings have slowed down in the month of January. They rank second in the league in pace, but since the start of the new year, they rank 12th in the league at 100.92 possessions per 48 minutes.

Grizzlies: Despite placing Conley and Gasol on the block, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff continues to run the pair out on the floor for major minutes. Conley scored 31 points in 36 minutes against the Hornets on Wednesday and Gasol finished the night with a 22-point, 17-rebound, 10-assist triple-double in 39 minutes of action.

Bickerstaff used an eight-man rotation against Charlotte with Ivan Rabb and Javon Carter each playing less that five minutes as the ninth and tenth men.

Memphis ranks 30th in the league in pace and points per game, averaging 100.8 points per game. They continue to limit teams with their defense, allowing the second fewest points per game at 104.2.

Kings' Buddy Hield blames headband after missing first six 3-pointers

Kings' Buddy Hield blames headband after missing first six 3-pointers

The mental game often can weigh on an athlete's performance. But what if it has to do with a headband?

Kings guard Buddy Hield missed his first six 3-point attempts during Wednesday's 107-99 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. His initial reaction was this ...

Later, after he lost the headband and drilled 2 of his next 5 threes, he admitted to NBC Sports California's Kayte Christensen-Hunter that it was more of a mental issue.

Hield then said it still wasn't an excuse.

Nonetheless, Hield managed to get 20 points by the end of the game. Don't be surprised if you see him without a headband for a while ... or ever.

Kings' Nemanja Bjelica, Bogdan Bogdanovic deliver in win over Blazers

Kings' Nemanja Bjelica, Bogdan Bogdanovic deliver in win over Blazers

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings are not accepting condolence cards.

Despite an atrocious 0-5 start to the season and major injuries to both forward Marvin Bagley and point guard De’Aaron Fox, the Kings refuse to give up on the final 70-plus games of the season. The Portland Trail Blazers learned that lesson on Tuesday evening at Golden 1 Center.

It took a full 48 minutes, but the Kings staved off the Blazers late to come away with a 107-99 victory in front of an appreciative home crowd.

With two of their top scorers on the shelf, the Kings need more from every member of the rotation. Against a Portland team that made it to the Western Conference Finals last season, it was a pair of Serbian national team teammates that came to play.

Nemanja Bjelica was the only Kings player that could find the bottom of the net in the first 8:41 of the first quarter. The 31-year-old forward scored seven of the team’s first eight points, with Richaun Holmes putting in a lone free throw as Sacramento fell behind 18-8 early.

“Bjeli started off well and everybody is staying together as a group and just connecting with each other and supporting each other,” Buddy Hield said.

Bjelica posted his first double-double of the season, finishing the evening with 19 points, 12 rebounds and four assists in 36 minutes.

The veteran big started the game well and then came to the rescue late with a 26-foot three-pointer to give Sacramento an eight-point lead with 2:37 remaining in the fourth.

“Great win, especially in front of our fans,” Bjelica said. “I mean, we’re always talking about is we want to make the playoffs, we need to win every game at home, so it is very important for us.”

Needing a spark to wake up the offense, coach Luke Walton turned to the Kings’ other Serbian-born player, Bogdan Bogdanovic. The third-year wing changed the entire momentum of the game with his defense, scoring ability and playmaking.

Bogdanovic picked up three steals in just under six minutes of play in the first quarter and matched his career-high with four steals on the night.

On the offensive end, Bogdanovic hit Portland with a team-high 25 points, including 15 in the first half while the Kings were struggling to keep up.

“He’s fun to watch, man,” Hield said of Bogdanovic. “Playing with him, he’s such a good passer. He’s a good playmaker and he’s always about team. You see him making shots and scoring, but he’s always a team-first guy.”

With Fox sidelined, Bogdanovic took the reigns of the offense. He finished with 10 assists in 32 minutes of action and during crunch time, he made the right plays when it mattered.

“I think I’m an experienced player and I can adjust to any role here,” Bogdanovic said. “I’m just trying to help the team to get these wins and tonight it was 10 assists. I’m more happy with the win.”

It was Bogdanovic who fed Bjelica for the open three in the fourth. He had another pass to Cory Joseph for a three at the 2:01 mark of the fourth and he found a cutting Harrison Barnes with 1:30 remaining to help seal the win.

Bjelica and Bogdanovic put up the big numbers, but it was a team effort for Sacramento.

Hield struggled with his shot, but still managed to post 20 points on the evening. Barnes went scoreless in the first half but finished with 16 after a strong final 24 minutes. Joseph played solid defense on Damian Lillard and Richaun Holmes chipped in the team’s third double-double with an 11-point, 10-rebound, two-block performance.

[RELATED: What we learned as Kings take down Blazers without Fox]

The Kings have a long road in front of them, but they are playing a better brand of basketball after a tough start and they are starting to show improvements on both ends of the court. With the win, Sacramento is now 4-1 over their previous five games and they’ve climbed to 4-6 on the season.

They’ll have a much tougher test on Friday when they fly to Los Angeles to face LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the 8-2 Lakers.