Kings-Grizzlies Preview

Given how well the Memphis Grizzlies have played this season,
it’s no surprise coach Lionel Hollins is baffled by their current
losing streak.

Looking to avoid a season-high fourth straight defeat, the
Grizzlies hope to turn things around and continue their home
dominance of the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

Memphis (24-13) is among the top four teams in the Western
Conference because it allows 90.4 points per contest to offset its
scoring average of 93.7. However, the Grizzlies have lost three
straight to Dallas, the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio, each
by at least 21 points.

They’ve averaged 79.3 points and shot 36.4 percent while
yielding 102.0 and 50.9 percent from the field in those games.

“I’m at a loss for words right now,” Hollins told the NBA’s
official website. “When you shoot poorly it’s a recurrent theme.
When you turn the ball over it’s a recurrent theme and when you
don’t guard it’s a recurrent theme.”

That was the case in Wednesday’s 103-82 loss to the Spurs, as
the Grizzlies went 1 for 9 from 3-point range and allowed San
Antonio to shoot 57.9 percent from the field – the highest against
Memphis this season. Memphis had no fast-break points and was
outscored 46-26 in the paint.

“Our defense seemed to be all over the place,” Hollins said.
“Guys rotating when they shouldn’t be rotating. We had guys out of
position playing different spots.”

The Grizzlies also lost a season-high three in a row Dec. 8-14,
but those defeats came by a combined 17 points. Memphis last
dropped four straight games Jan. 24-30.

Rudy Gay had 17 points Wednesday as each Grizzlies starter
scored in double figures.

This slide follows a four-game winning streak in which Memphis
averaged 100.0 points and gave up 86.8. That includes a 113-81 win
at Sacramento on Jan. 7.

The Grizzlies have taken eight of 10 overall versus the Kings
(15-24), and they’ve averaged 115.6 points and 52.7 percent
shooting in winning five straight meetings at home by an average of
18.8 points.

Gay was held to eight points and 2-of-10 shooting at Sacramento,
but he’s scored 22.9 points a game and shot 49.2 percent in his
last seven home contests against the Kings.

Though Sacramento has lost 13 of 16 at Memphis, it can match a
season high with its third consecutive victory after beating two of
the worst clubs in the East, Cleveland and Washington.

“We got two in a row, go to Memphis, that’s a tough team,”
forward John Salmons said. “We’ve just go to stay together and play
good basketball.”

Salmons, DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans each had 21 points as
the Kings overcame an 11-point second-half deficit for a 95-94 home
win over the Wizards on Wednesday.

“Having three players have 21 points, that’s sharing the ball,”
said Cousins, who pulled down 16 rebounds but also had six of his
team’s 18 turnovers. “It was a good team game for us all
around.”

Cousins has totaled 47 points, 30 rebounds and 11 assists in the
last two games but scored 10 against the Grizzlies earlier this
month.

Evans, who played collegiately at Memphis, has shot 14 of 21
while scoring 39 points in the last two contests. However, he was
held to five against the Grizzlies in his first game after missing
11 with a knee injury.