Sacramento Kings at Memphis Grizzlies
Time: 7 PM CT (NBA League Pass)
Spread: MEM -4
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The Memphis Grizzlies are 27-20 and have won eight of its past 10 games. The Grizzlies will host the Sacramento Kings at 7 PM Central on NBA League Pass, and the Kings come in as losers of its past three contests. NBA oddsmakers are favoring the Grizzlies by 4 points in the game.
Sacramento looked as though it were locked in and getting on track after knocking off five straight opponents prior to this three-game skid. The three losses have come against the Charlotte Hornets, Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans.
Much buzz has been made over DeMarcus Cousins’ 56 point outing against the Hornets, but Sacramento lost that game in double-overtime. Cousins still is likely the best center in the league. He is averaging 27.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.66 blocks/steals in 34 minutes a night this season. His PER of 24 is the highest of any Kings player, but Sacramento may be pressed into making some moves at the trade deadline if it is going to firm up any chances of crashing the postseason.
That does not mean Cousins will be moved. Rather, the Kings will look towards Rudy Gay as an attractive trade chip that could bring in what Sacramento needs. Gay is averaging 18 points and seven rebounds per game, but scoring at the small forward position is the easiest to replace when re-constructing a roster.
The Kings have a strong backcourt with both Darren Collison and Rajon Rondo able to filet opposing defenses. The Kings, however, have not been as pleased with 2-guard Ben McLemore, who the team felt was promising enough to cut ways with Nik Stauskas on draft night (sending him to the Philadelphia 76ers). McLemore sees just 21 minutes a game while posting humble averages of 7.8 points and 2.1 assists.
The Kings were expected to be better this year under George Karl, and they are, but perhaps just not far enough ahead of last season to please all doubters. The Kings have an immense amount of talent on paper, but it cannot be a winning team on the basis of only its offense. Sacramento averages 106.3 points per game but it surrenders 107.9 per game.
The Grizzlies most recently knocked off the Orlando Magic and Milwaukee Bucks and Memphis is slotted No. 5 in the Western Conference standings right now. The Grizzlies may seek to restructure the team around the talents of Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, because it is not going to get over the hump riding an aged Zach Randolph. Memphis gets solid production from its entire rotation, and is a team with a strong defensive identity.
But no one is really expecting Memphis to make it to the Finals or anything, and the Grizzlies have been merely “good” for the last half-decade. With some movable pieces it would not be surprising to see Memphis active at the trade deadline too.
The Grizz average just 96.9 points per game so trading one of its pocket-knife of capable defenders may be enough to get the Grizz a guy who can fill up the hoop. Even the likes of Nick Young may be in order so that Memphis can make some runs in a games and score the ball. No one really likes the “hired gun” approach, but this is a team in need of hiring one.
This game should be a close battle between two teams that may both end up in the postseason. The Kings are up and down right now, but Memphis is steady and consistent, and also at home. NBA oddsmakers favor the Grizzlies by 4-points, but if Sacramento plays to its talent level it may be too tough for Memphis to keep pace with Sacto’s offense.