Kings in Memphis to battle Grizzlies

Kings in Memphis to battle Grizzlies
January 3, 2012, 9:56 pm
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(APCSN) -- The Sacramento Kings were able to win just hoursafter DeMarcus Cousins was told to stay away from the team for apparentlydemanding a trade. However, the Kings' chances of remaining competitive in theWestern Conference likely increase with the second-year center in the lineup.
REWIND: Kings say DeMarcus Cousins demands a trade
The Memphis Grizzlies' hopes of making a second straightplayoff appearance could be dashed if Zach Randolph can't stay healthy. Cousins could miss a second consecutive game Tuesdaynight when the Kings try to avoid a fourth straight road loss to the Grizzlies,who could be without an injured Randolph.UPDATE: Report -- Cousins on team plane to Memphis
The Kings (2-3) have received solid production fromCousins, who is averaging 13.0 points and a team-best 11.3 rebounds, but he wastold to stay home Sunday by coach Paul Westphal after the team said he asked tobe traded following Saturday's 114-92 loss to New York. It wasn't the first outburst from the 21-year-old since Sacramento drafted himfifth overall in 2010. "Maybe it takes him a couple of more years toreally get it," veteran forward Chuck Hayes said after Sunday's 96-80victory over New Orleans."As good as he is talented, that's how emotional he is as well. You haveto 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 victorythat Cousins' return is "pretty much up to him," but it's uncertainwhen, or if, he'll be back in the Kings' lineup.
"He's a good player and we need him," guardTyreke Evans said after Sacramentowas outrebounded 60-41 on Sunday. On Monday, Cousins issued a statement, claiming he never demanded or requested a trade:
"I want to address my missing the New Orleans game Sunday. I have not demanded or requested a trade. I don't agree with the actions taken but will give my sincere effort to put it behind me and compete the best I can for my team."
The Grizzlies (1-3) need Randolphin the lineup after they were outrebounded 55-40 in Sunday's 104-64 loss at Chicago. Randolph finished with two points and threerebounds after leaving late in the first quarter with a bruised right knee. "This loss had nothing to do with Zach goingdown," coach Lionel Hollins said following the team's most lopsided defeatsince falling 111-66 in Chicagoon Jan. 13, 2007. "We were getting beat up then." The Grizzlies could use Randolphon 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 niceboost with the return of starting point guard Mike Conley, who has missed thelast two games with a sprained left ankle. Conley averaged 9.8 points and 6.0 assists last seasonagainst the Kings.
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In Sacramento's last game at FedEx Forum, Randolph had27 points and 15 rebounds and Conley added 12 points with eight assists as theGrizzlies clinched the West's final playoff spot with a 101-96 victory April 8.Memphishad 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 Memphisbefore being drafted fourth overall by Sacramentoin 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 14at home against Sacramentosince the beginning of the 2003-04 season.
STATS LLC and the Associated Press contributed to his report