Kings-Grizzlies Preview

The Sacramento Kings were able to win just hours after DeMarcus

Cousins was told to stay away from the team for apparently

demanding a trade. However, the Kings’ chances of remaining

competitive in the Western Conference likely increase with the

second-year center in the lineup.

The Memphis Grizzlies’ hopes of making a second straight playoff

appearance could be dashed if Zach Randolph can’t stay healthy.

Cousins could miss a second consecutive game Tuesday night when

the Kings try to avoid a fourth straight road loss to the

Grizzlies, who could be without an injured Randolph.

The Kings (2-3) have received solid production from Cousins, who

is averaging 13.0 points and a team-best 11.3 rebounds, but he was

told to stay home Sunday by coach Paul Westphal after the team said

he asked to be traded following Saturday’s 114-92 loss to New

York.

It wasn’t the first outburst from the 21-year-old since

Sacramento drafted him fifth overall in 2010.

“Maybe it takes him a couple of more years to really get it,”

veteran forward Chuck Hayes said after Sunday’s 96-80 victory over

New Orleans. “As good as he is talented, that’s how emotional he is

as well. You have to have a short-term memory in this game. That’s

my young fella, my teammate. If he wants to come back everyone on

his team would love to have him.”

Westphal said in a statement before Sunday’s victory that

Cousins’ return is “pretty much up to him,” but it’s uncertain

when, or if, he’ll be back in the Kings’ lineup.

“He’s a good player and we need him,” guard Tyreke Evans said

after Sacramento was outrebounded 60-41 on Sunday.

The Grizzlies (1-3) need Randolph in the lineup after they were

outrebounded 55-40 in Sunday’s 104-64 loss at Chicago. Randolph

finished with two points and three rebounds after leaving late in

the first quarter with a bruised right knee.

“This loss had nothing to do with Zach going down,” coach Lionel

Hollins said following the team’s most lopsided defeat since

falling 111-66 in Chicago on Jan. 13, 2007. “We were getting beat

up then.”

The Grizzlies could use Randolph on Tuesday after he averaged

team highs of 26.5 points and 13.8 rebounds as Memphis took three

of four from Sacramento in 2010-11.

Even if he doesn’t play, the Grizzlies could get a nice boost

with the return of starting point guard Mike Conley, who has missed

the last two games with a sprained left ankle.

Conley averaged 9.8 points and 6.0 assists last season against

the Kings.

In Sacramento’s last game at FedEx Forum, Randolph had 27 points

and 15 rebounds and Conley added 12 points with eight assists as

the Grizzlies clinched the West’s final playoff spot with a 101-96

victory April 8.

Memphis had its best offensive performance of the season in the

Kings’ previous visit, a 120-92 win Feb. 26.

Evans, who played one season at the University of Memphis before

being drafted fourth overall by Sacramento in 2009, scored a

season-high 27 points Sunday. He is averaging 22.0 points, 6.5

boards and 5.0 assists in two games visiting the Grizzlies.

Memphis has won 11 of 14 at home against Sacramento since the

beginning of the 2003-04 season.