SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings aren’t done fighting yet. In front of their home crowd, they pulled off their second consecutive shocker, this time dispatching the Memphis Grizzlies in dramatic fashion by the final of 91-90.
Darren Collison battled Mike Conley Jr. all night long at the point guard position. After scoring 19 against the Clippers on Sunday, Collison hit the Grizzlies for 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting and added a team-high seven assists. His free throw with 5.7 seconds remaining proved to be the game winner.
Rookie Buddy Hield continued his hot shooting, scoring 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting. The 23-year-old shooting guard is quickly establishing himself as a big time scoring option for the Kings moving forward.
Willie Cauley-Stein chipped in 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists. 7-footer Kosta Koufos found success against his former team, finishing with 11 points, five rebounds and three blocks before fouling out late.
Ty Lawson led the second unit with 10 points, while Anthony Tolliver went 4-of-7 from the field for nine points.
Conley Jr. received the biggest contract in NBA history during the offseason and he showed why Monday against the Kings. The veteran point guard dropped in 22 points and dished out nine assists as the Grizzlies fell to 40-34 on the season.
35-year-old big man Zach Randolph went to work in the post. The 16-year NBA vet dropped in 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, schooling the Kings frontline with the left-handed flip early in the game.
Brandan Wright came off the bench to score 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and Troy Daniels added 10 points.
Collison is heating up. Over his last two games, the veteran guard has scored 42 points on 16-for-24 shooting and kept his team in the ballgame.
Despite leading by eight on multiple occasions in the fourth quarter, Sacramento couldn’t close the door on the Grizzlies. Collison drew a foul with 5.7 remaining and his team trailing by one. He knocked down both freebies and Randolph missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer to help the Kings improve to 29-45 on the season.
Arron Afflalo missed the game due to a personal matter and Tyreke Evans sat for scheduled rest. Rookie Malachi Richardson is officially out for the season with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.
The Kings are back at it Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center when the Utah Jazz roll through Sacramento. Following the matchup with Utah, the Kings travel to New Orleans to face former King DeMarcus Cousins on Friday evening.
UPDATE (6:30pm PT on Monday): The Kings issued a statement in response to a report that they had received permission to speak with former 76ers GM Sam Hinkie:
"The Kings are not hiring Sam Hinkie and have no plans to bring anyone in above Vlade."
From the Kings: pic.twitter.com/dyxbLdqUbF— James Ham (@James_Ham) March 28, 2017
Is "The Process" coming to Sacramento?
The Kings have reportedly received permission to talk to former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie, according to ESPN.
Hinkie took over as GM in Philadelphia in the summer of 2013, but after three straight sub-20-win seasons, he stepped down from the role.
According to the report, a specific role for Hinkie is unknown.
Story posting now: League sources tell @ZachLowe_NBA and me that the Kings have received permission to speak to former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) March 27, 2017
League sources say Kings have interest in bringing Hinkie into their front office. Neither exact role nor Hinkie's interest level yet known— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) March 27, 2017
More to come...