Kings begin life without Gay against Grizzlies (Jan 20, 2017)

BY AP • January 19, 2017

Wednesday night turned out to be disastrous for the Sacramento Kings.

Not only did they blow a 22-point lead in their loss to the Indiana Pacers, but the Kings lost forward Rudy Gray to a season-ending injury.

Sacramento (16-25) travels to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies (25-19) on Friday night at FedExForum.

Gay tore his Achilles tendon, CSN California has reported, when he fell hard after trying to make a baseline move late in the third quarter.

The loss of Gay hurts the Kings' already dimming playoff hopes. They lost six of their last seven to fall just out of playoff position.

Sacramento point guard Ty Lawson said the mood in the locker room after Wednesday's game was somber.

"Rudy's a good guy, and for him to go down like that this time of year, in this point of his life is kinda tough," Lawson told CSN California. "I'm probably one of the closest to him on the team. It kind of hurt my soul."

DeMarcus Cousins, who had 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, vowed to soldier on.

"That's still our brother out there," Cousins told the Sacramento Bee, "so we have to finish this thing out for Rudy."

Cousins leads the team in scoring (28 points per game), rebounds (10.1) and assists (4.4).

This is the third of four meetings this season. Memphis, which won the most recent meeting on Dec. 31, is riding a two-game losing streak.

On Wednesday in the nation's capital, Memphis became the 13th straight victim of the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center.

Center Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies leading scorer, had 28 points but Washington's Otto Porter Jr. made 9 of 12 shots, including six 3-pointers, in the Wizards' 104-101 victory. Porter and point guard John Wall led Washington with 25 points each.

After the loss, in which the Grizzlies trailed 66-51 at halftime, Memphis coach David Fizdale called out his defense.

"You can't spot a team (19) points and think that every time you're going to come back and win the game," Fizdale said. "It's the same thing I've been stressing to our guys over the last month -- consistent effort and focus. We didn't decide to do that until the second half. There were no adjustments to the schemes. We played harder and with more focus."

Gasol emphasized the importance of stopping opponents.

"Defense," Gasol said. "Sixty-six points in the first half, that's too many points. If we don't get it defensively, it's going to be hard for us.

"We don't have the firepower to match 66 points in two halves. We're not going to be a 130-120 game -- those aren't the games that we're going to win consistently. We have to do a better job on that."

For Sacramento, Friday marks the beginning of an eight-game road trip. The Kings don't return home until Feb. 3.



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