April 6, 2018, 1:55 pm
The final road trip of the season for Sacramento finds them in Memphis on Friday night facing the Grizzlies.
The Kings are just 3.5 games ahead of the Grizzlies in the standings and both teams have been equally bad as of late since each of the two teams have dropped seven of their last nine games.
Against each other, however, the Grizzlies have dominated this season; they’ve won both games by 18 points.
The matchup will pit the worst and second worst offensive teams up against each other when it comes to points per game. The Kings at 99.1 ppg in a rare occasion enter the game averaging slightly more than the Grizzlies, who score 98.8 ppg.
The game could result in being a battle of the benches if the teams’ recent history is any indication. The Grizzlies dropped their most recent contest to the Pelicans by a score of 123-95 and in that game, the team’s starters only accounted for 41 points.
The Kings, on the other hand, dropped a close one in Phoenix and their bench struggled for much of the night. With coach Dave Joerger resting many of his veterans, JaKarr Sampson and Jack Cooley with the G-League club and injuries to Skal Labissiere and Garrett Temple, the Kings’ bench was limited to just four players, two of which who have barely seen any action with the team in Bruno Caboclo and Nigel Hayes.
Altogether Hayes, Caboclo, Frank Mason and Buddy Hield shot a rather painful 5-of-22. Of the four reserves, Caboclo, who played just five minutes, had the best plus-minus of -1 while Hayes had a minus-12 in 22 minutes of action.
Players who have seen constant time this year for the Kings, however, are De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic who have both been excelling with just three games left to play.
Fox has looked comfortable as the team’s starting point guard but has also proven to be able to hit big shots in big moments. He has a 48.8 percent effective field goal percentage in the fourth quarter of games, which is his highest average of any quarter. His 46.1 percent field goal percentage in the fourth quarter well exceeds his season average of 41.1 percent (per Basketball reference).
For Bogdanovic, he’s proven to be a flexible fit in any role he’s played from the one to the three spot and as the season’s gone on he’s shown more and more confidence in himself which is apparent in his increase in field goal and 3-point attempts.
In March, Bogdanovic played the most minutes of any month (428 minutes), but it wasn’t much more than his December (422 minutes) and January (424 minutes) months. His field goal attempt rate was much higher in March (0.38 per minute) as opposed to December (0.30 per minute) and January (0.33 per minute), according to Basketball Reference.
From the 3-point line, Bogdanovic attempted 72 long balls in March and averaged just more than 59 in the other two months combined.
In his last five games, Bogdanovic is averaging 16.0 points per game, 3.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per ESPN.
The backcourt of Fox and Bogdanovic will more than likely play a huge role in whether or not the Kings can pull of the win in Memphis.
PG – De’Aaron Fox
SG – Bogdan Bogdanovic
SF – Justin Jackson
PF – Zach Randolph
C – Willie Cauley-Stein
Skal Labissiere (ankle) – OUT
Garrett Temple (ankle) – OUT
Iman Shumpert (knee) – OUT
Harry Giles (knee) – OUT
HOW TO WATCH
When: 5:00 p.m. PST (8:00 ET)
Where: NBCS California