December 31, 2016, 10:31 am
Following their disappointing loss on the road against the Portland Trailblazers, the Sacramento Kings return to the Golden 1 Center for a Saturday afternoon matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies. The two teams faced off earlier in the season in Memphis, with the Kings pulling ahead late for a 96-92 win.
For Sacramento, the game represents a good opportunity to bounce back after a tough loss in Portland. Sacramento went into their last game with a four game win streak, one that put them firmly in the mix for a playoff spot. Memphis is a tough opponent, but the team has shown that they are very capable matchup up with them. Having home-court advantage will give the Kings even more of an edge than they had in their last meeting.
Here are some notes heading into the matchup:
- Sacramento will again be playing without Rudy Gay and Arron Afflalo, leaving them fairly short on the perimeter. Garrett Temple is having a great season, so the concern really stems from the other players being asked to fill in. Matt Barnes has struggled tremendously all year, and Ben McLemore can look completely lost at times. The Kings will need one or both of these two to step up tonight to secure another win.
- DeMarcus Cousins has been incredible, but the lack of talent around him has proven to be too much to overcome at times. The team’s last game against Portland really showcased the team’s struggles to get other players going offensively, as Cousins’ 28 points and six assists still only led the team to 89 points. Cousins has done his part on the court, and now other playmakers need to step up and carry some of the offense.
Sacramento has made some serious improvement over the last month of the season, and a strong bounce-back win against a tough conference opponent would be a great way to show that the changes are real. Memphis certainly won’t make it easy on them, so the team will need to stay focused and maintain a strong effort to pull this out.