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GAME: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Sacramento Kings
Time: 7:00 pm CST
PLACE: FedExForum, Memphis, TN
Records: Memphis (8-6), Sacramento (6-10)

Expected Starting Lineups:

Memphis – Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Rudy Gay, Dante Cunningham, Marc Gasol
Sacramento – Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, John Salmons, J.J. Hickson, DeMarcus Cousins

Both teams enter this contest on winning streaks. Memphis is currently at 5 consecutive wins, and Sacramento has won two hard-fought contests over quality opponents (Indiana and San Antonio). This will be the Kings’ second visit to Beale Street, as these two teams squared off on January 3, with the Grizzlies excising their frustration from their blowout loss to the Bulls by beating Sacramento 113-96.

Memphis has been getting it done with defense and big leads early in the game. Last night, they jumped out on the Pistons quickly, leading by 10 at the end of the first quarter and stretching the lead to 20+ during the game. But, as has been their M.O. lately, they allowed yet another team (another bad team at that) to sneak back into the game and make it close. It’s hard to complain too much when they keep winning these games, but eventually they are going to lose one and then all the smiles will be gone.

Sacramento’s wins have been….well, somewhat inexplicable. They shot 30% from the floor against the Pacers and still won. They shot less than 24% from deep and less than 58% from the line against the Spurs and still won. If you simply look at the stats, there is nothing to point to as a reason for the Kings beating these two good teams. Reading the recaps from these games, one thing stands out though: the Kings are executing in the 4th quarter.

Does that mean that the Kings could be the one to make the Grizzlies pay for their lackadaisical play late in games with the lead? Could be….could very well be.

For Memphis to win, they need to continue playing defense like their lives depend on it. Specifically, they cannot allow the Kings backcourt players to get hot. If Evans and Thornton get going early, it can spell trouble, as they will be able to get others involved.

For Sacramento to win, they need to get creative on offense and try to create fastbreak plays with their defense. Using Cousins as the linchpin to their offense would be wise, too — similar to how the Grizzlies use Marc Gasol in the high post.

Prediction: Grizzlies win in a game that is very tight.

Kings Blogs
Cowbell Kingdom
Sactown Royalty
Evil Cowtown, Inc.

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5 Responses to Memphis vs. Sacramento – 1/21/12

  1. Joel B.No Gravatar says:

    someone tell me why in the hell do we want to trade OJ? dude was ON FIRE from 3 tonight, and he is hitting them consistently, so why in the world are we trading him? is it b/c we cant afford to resign him?

  2. ColeNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t think that any Grizz fans actually want to trade Juice. I think that Heisley has been on record strongly against going into the luxury tax and the Grizz would have to do so in order to resign OJ. Since we see an OJ trade as inevitable, everyone just wants to get the most possible for him.

    I think that the Grizzlies would have to make it to the NBA Finals this year for Heisley to keep him and pay him what it would take.

    All that aside, Go Grizz! Great game tonight against the Kings. Great game and welcome back Haddadi.

  3. Andy WatersNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for the explanation, Cole. Some people don’t pay attention to the business side of basketball.

  4. ColeNo Gravatar says:

    Just a clarification, this is the last year on OJ’s contract so he if he is traded it will most likely be before this years trade deadline which obviously means he won’t be around for the playoffs.

    The only other option would be some kind of sign and trade this off-season which would only be to get around another teams salary cap and would return very little to the Grizzlies.

    He will be a restricted free agent and the Grizzlies will have the right to match any other team’s offer but based on the way he has played this year he will probably be offered more than the Grizzlies want to pay.

    I think that my preference is to not trade him and to try to make a playoff run with him coming off of the bench. Last year and even this off-season the rumors had him going for Josh McRoberts. We can do without a player of that caliber if it means keeping him through the post-season. Who knows, if everything goes well maybe Heisley will resign him but I wouldn’t hold my breath. A desperate team with cap room will probably overpay for him after missing out on some of next years bigger free agents (I’m thinking Nets, Mavs, or Cavs – just speculation).

  5. presidentjoeNo Gravatar says:

    Overpaying for Rudy really hurts. Wish there were some way they could do that over.

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