[January 18, 2014]MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Given that neither
team was over .500 at tip-off, the Sacramento Kings-Memphis Grizzlies
game Friday night at the FedExForum wasn't exactly a simulation of the
But the end of the game was. The Grizzlies were down seven points
with 4:01 to play but closed the fourth quarter with a 10-2 run and
defeated the Kings 91-90. At one point, the Kings missed seven
"It only prepares us for the playoffs because in the playoffs, it
comes down to one or two possessions," said Memphis shooting guard
Courtney Lee, who had 17 points.
The Grizzlies (20-19) moved above .500 for the first time since they
were 9-8 on Dec. 3 and extended their winning streak to five games.
"It's been a long, emotional and mentally taxing ride," Grizzlies
coach Dave Joerger said.
The Kings (14-24) made just one field goal in the last 5:19 of the
game, a putback dunk by small forward Rudy Gay with 39 seconds left
to get Sacramento back within a point at 91-90. After Memphis center
Marc Gasol missed a jumper, the ball went out of bounds off the
The Kings had a final possession with 15.1 seconds remaining. Gay
tried to drive, lost the ball, and after a mad scramble, the
officials ruled a jump ball between Grizzlies small forward Tayshaun
Prince and Gay with 1.9 seconds left. Gay tried to tip the ball
toward center DeMarcus Cousins but Gasol, who said he was looking
for the play, deflected the ball away from the basket and the game
"I got the tap," Gay said, "but Marc made a great play. He's a good
player, a smart player."
Memphis point guard Mike Conley led all scorers with 25 points,
scoring 14 in the second half, and had six assists.
"It's hard to really contain him," Cousins said.
"Mike Conley's one of the most underrated players, not point guards,
but players in the NBA," said Kings coach Michael Malone.
Gasol, playing in his third game since returning from a knee injury,
had 16 points and power forward Zach Randolph scored 12 points with
nine rebounds. The Grizzlies had 13 blocks, including four each from
Gasol and Randolph.
"Stops, stops," Gasol said when asked what made the
difference in the game. "They couldn't get to the rim easily."
Cousins finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds for the Kings,
but was just 6-for-20 from the floor; he was 10-for-13 from the
foul line. Gay had 19 points and point guard Isaiah Thomas
contributed 14 points and nine assists.
Sacramento shot 40.7 percent from the field (33 of 81) and the
Grizzlies 46.2 percent (36 of 78). The Kings were held under 100
points for just the second time in their last 15 games. They are
1-11 when scoring less than 100 this season.
The Kings were ahead 86-81 at the 4:01 mark. Cousins missed a
free throw and before he could shoot his second free throw,
Joerger got hit with a technical foul. Gay made the technical
free throw, Cousins made his next free throw and the lead was
After that, it was all Grizzlies.
"That was the turning point," Lee said of Joerger's technical.
"That let everyone know he's fighting just as hard as us."
Gasol played almost 31 minutes and made seven of 13 shots. He
said his left knee felt "OK," but admitted he doesn't have his
timing back or the bounce in his legs back yet.
"It might be frustrating, might be ugly at times," he said, "but
I've gotta push through."
NOTES: Averaging 23.4 points per game (seventh in the NBA) and
11.6 rebounds (fifth), Kings C DeMarcus Cousins is playing at an
All-Star level. Asked whether Cousins also is doing a better job
of not letting people get under his skin, Sacramento coach
Michael Malone said with a laugh, "I think everybody gets under
DeMarcus' skin. But he's also trying to mature and handle his
emotions better." ... Through 15 games, Grizzlies F James
Johnson was averaging 1.40 steals and a team-high 1.73 blocks in
just 23.3 minutes. If all three averages were to hold through
the end of the season, he would become the first player in NBA
history with those steals and block averages in under 25 minutes
per game. "I give him a lot of credit," Malone said. "He was
down in the D-League and could have felt sorry for himself."