Music Credit: Ronald Jenkees – Guitar Sound
Butterfingers doesn’t sponsor the Sacramento Kings, but they should. Sloppy play spoiled a memorable performance by Reggie Evans as the Kings fell to the Memphis Grizzlies at Sleep Train Arena, 97-85.
“I told our guys, in nine wins we averaged 14 turnovers for 13 points, and in our eight losses we averaged over 18 turnovers for 23 points,” Michael Malone told the media after the game. “At some point we have to find a way to stop beating ourselves.”
With DeMarcus Cousins missing his second straight game with the flu, Ryan Hollins started at center but was ejected early in the third quarter with two technical fouls. Short-handed in the frontcourt, Malone played Evans and was rewarded. Evans produced a season-high 17 points and 20 rebounds (nine offensive) in 35 minutes, after failing to make an appearance in the Kings’ last seven games.
“I was shocked when my name was called,” admitted Evans, “You (have) to be ready to go at any time.”
Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore helped shoulder the offensive load with 20 and 18 points respectively. Darren Collison recorded 16 points and seven assists but struggled to dribble the ball at times with five turnovers.
The Kings as a whole were very careless with possessions, spilling eight turnovers in the first quarter and finishing the night with 23. The Grizzlies scored 23 points off Sacramento’s turnovers, which helped Memphis gain a 21-point lead midway through the second quarter. The Kings took better care of the rock in the third, when they outscored the Grizzlies 23-16, but in the final period allowed the offense to unravel.
“When you try to dribble and make a play that may not be there, then over-dribbling gets you into trouble every time,” explained Malone. “We have to do a much better job of moving the basketball, setting better screens, and getting guys open. They were very physical with us and were able to blow things up at times.”
The Grizzlies were out-rebounded 42 to 35 and outscored in the paint 58 to 50, but Zach Randolph dominated early with 15 of Memphis’ first 30 points. He finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Marc Gasol added 18 points, six rebounds and five assists. The Grizzlies managed 13 steals in addition to 25 assists and 13 turnovers. Memphis’ perimeter defense was airtight, limiting Sacramento to 1-of-10 shooting from behind the arc.
The Kings are now 9-8 and have lost three games in a row. They’ll practice Monday and host the Toronto Raptors minus DeMar DeRozan (groin) on Tuesday.
Notes and Analysis
- Before tonight, Reggie Evans had sat quietly on the Kings bench waiting for his number to be called. With Cousins out again, coach Malone finally pointed to No. 30 and the 34-year-old forward brought the noise. After receiving the dreaded DNP-CD for seven straight games, Evans dropped in 17 points and a game-high 20 rebounds in 34 minutes of action. The veteran ran out of gas late, but the fans appreciated his effort.
- Rudy Gay lead the way for Sacramento with 20 points on 7-for-14 shooting, but he struggled in the second half. With Cousins ailing, the spotlight was on Gay and the veteran wing was held to just five points after the intermission, on 0-of-3 shooting from the field and 5-for-6 from the line.
- Ben McLemore is on a hot streak. The 21-year-old shooting guard has scored in double-figures in six straight and 11 of his last 13 games. Tonight, he dropped in 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting and played solid defense for 41 minutes.
- Darren Collison shook off the rust that we saw in the San Antonio game. The veteran point guard finished with 16 points, seven assists and seven rebounds tonight for coach Malone and held Mike Conley Jr. in check for the entire game.
- The duo of Jason Thompson and Ryan Hollins had a disastrous game for Sacramento. Thompson couldn’t stay on the floor due to foul trouble, scoring just two points and grabbing two rebounds in 19 minutes. Hollins was tossed from the game at the 10:51 mark of the third quarter after picking up his second technical of the game. He went scoreless in 18 minutes of action and grabbed just a single rebound.
- Carl Landry struggled the entire night as well. The veteran forward scored six points and grabbed four rebounds in 23 minutes, but he picked up five fouls and turned the ball over a surprising four times in the loss.
- Stat of the Night: Sacramento continues to struggle with turnovers. Tonight, they handed the ball over 23 times, leading to 23 points for the Grizzlies.
Quote of the Game
Michael Malone on the month of November
“I just told them, walk out here understanding that we have a lot of work to do, but being 9-8 and having played the toughest schedule and the most road games in the NBA — we have a lot of things to feel good about. We’ve only played one game against the Eastern Conference. That’s not trying to give them a false sense of security or accomplishment, but they’re 9-8 against the schedule we played, which shows that they do deserve some credit.”