By Peter Pranica FOXSportsTennessee.com November 8, 2010
The difference between 0-4 and 1-3 for the Memphis Grizzlies was huge.
Faced with the possibility of going 0-for in consecutive seasons on season-opening Western trips, the Memphis Grizzlies played one of their more complete games in taking down the Sacramento Kings 100-91 Saturday night.
The Kings were feeling good about themselves, coming into the game with three wins in five games and two of those coming via double-digit comebacks. People were already talking about the possibility of having back-to-back Rookies of the Year with Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins.
Hold the party on that one.
Cousins will be a fine player and perhaps may yet reach Rookie of the Year heights, but the Grizzlies made him look ordinary and frustrated with more fouls (5) than points (4).
Meanwhile, the frontcourt heavy attack of Zach Randolph (20 points, 11 rebounds) and Rudy Gay (32 points and 9 rebounds) was more than the Kings could withstand, despite another All Star caliber performance by Evans.
The most encouraging facet of this win was that the Grizzlies were able to build a double-digit lead and protect it on the road in a building where they have enjoyed very little success. First, the Grizzlies ran off a 16-4 skein off the top of the third quarter and then kept the lead at 8 points or more the rest of the way.
On the second night of a back to back, the Grizzlies had more juice down the stretch, limiting the Kings to a measly 35% FG in the second half while also outrebounding the Kings. Only a fantastic ran by Francisco Garcia off the bench kept this from being a runaway.
Tonight, the Grizzlies face the Phoenix Suns, who are fresh off handing Atlanta their first loss of the season. Figure that Memphis will come with great focus tonight after realizing they let a big win get away in the final 4.7 seconds of regulation.
As tempted as you are to focus on Steve Nash, the Grizzlies have to find an answer for Jason Richardson. Not only did he hit for 38 in Friday