Tue, 07 Apr 2020

Grizzlies look to get back on track against Kings

Field Level Media
28 Feb 2020, 18:05 GMT+10

The Memphis Grizzlies get an opportunity to avenge a recent defeat and add some distance between themselves and their Western Conference playoff competition at the same time when they host the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

Neither team enters the contest in an ideal situation, with the injury-plagued Grizzlies having lost four in a row, while the Kings will be enduring the second night of a road back-to-back after a tough loss at Oklahoma City on Thursday.

Memphis, which will begin the night in the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, has suffered back-to-back drubbings since losing Jaren Jackson Jr. to a sprained left knee last week.

Jackson isn't expected back until at least mid-March.

Jackson had 16 points when the Grizzlies began a four-game trip last Thursday with a 129-125 loss at Sacramento.

He suffered the injury in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers the next night, then missed a 124-97 thumping at the hands of the LA Clippers and 140-112 defeat to the Houston Rockets before the Grizzlies returned home to begin a two-game homestand on Friday.

The Lakers also come to town on Saturday.

The Grizzlies also lost valuable reserve Brandon Clarke to a strained right quad on the trip. He is out indefinitely.

"There's no magic recipe," Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said of potential solutions with two key players out. "We've got to roll with the guys we got, the depth that we've always trusted all season long. No matter who's out there, we got to play at a higher level. We got to play better."

Memphis lost at Sacramento 128-123 on Jan. 2 after beating the Kings 119-115 at home in December, so the Grizzlies are looking to even up the season series.

The Kings have moved within four games of the Grizzlies in the playoff chase thanks in large part to a three-game winning streak that began with last week's win over Memphis. Sacramento won that game by owning the 3-point line, outscoring the Grizzlies 57-36 from deep.

The Kings had that winning streak come to an end in Thursday's 112-108 loss at Oklahoma City.

The Kings also outscored the Thunder 36-27 on 3-pointers in the loss, but the hosts forced 15 Sacramento turnovers and had a 21-14 edge at the free throw line to overcome the long-range disparity.

Sacramento went without star guard De'Aaron Fox, who had been expected to play but showed up at the arena with a tight lower right abdomen.

It's possible he'll be rested, healthy and ready to face the Grizzlies.

Kings coach Luke Walton was asked about Fox's nagging injuries after he played through a sore shoulder to score 21 points in Tuesday's win over Golden State.

"We'll go about it smartly," he told reporters. "We'll give him off days where he needs it."

With Marvin Bagley III also out of action, Harrison Barnes has helped take up the scoring slack for the Kings.

He had 32 points, including seven 3-pointers, in the win over the Grizzlies last week, then contributed 21 points to the win over Golden State on Tuesday.

He had another 21-point effort in Thursday's loss to Oklahoma City.

--Field Level Media

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