Kings in Memphis to battle Grizzlies

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Kings in Memphis to battle Grizzlies

(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.
RELATED: NBA standings
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

NBA Gameday: Cauley-Stein vs Gobert the matchup to watch

NBA Gameday: Cauley-Stein vs Gobert the matchup to watch

SACRAMENTO -- Riding a two-game win streak, the Sacramento Kings host the playoff bound Utah Jazz Wednesday at Golden 1 Center.

Sacramento knocked off the Memphis Grizzlies Monday evening, relying heavily on their veterans down the stretch to pick up their 29th win of the season. Darren Collison posted a team-high 23 points and seven assists in 37 minutes.

The Jazz sit a game and a half ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoffs chase. While they are a lock for the playoffs, with just eight games remaining in their season a win against Sacramento would go a long way towards cementing homecourt advantage in round one of the postseason.

OPENING LINE

Jazz by 7.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Rudy Gobert -- The Sacramento Kings would love nothing more than for Cauley-Stein to turn into the next Rudy Gobert. Since the All-Star break, the 7-footer out of Kentucky is dropping in 12.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 32 minutes per game. In his fourth season in the league, Gobert is posting career-best numbers across the board. The 24-year-old Frenchman is averaging 13.8 points, 12.9 rebounds and a league-leading 2.6 blocks per game.

WHERE THEY STAND

Kings: 29-45, third place in Pacific

Jazz: 45-29, first place in Northwest

INJURY REPORT

Kings: SG Malachi Richardson (right hamstring partial tear) out for the season, F Rudy Gay (torn left Achilles) out for season.

Jazz: SF Gordon Hayward (quad) is questionable, PF Derrick Favors (knee), George Hill (groin strain) and Raul Neto (groin strain) are out.

SERIES HISTORY

Utah leads the season series 2-1 over the Kings, including a 110-109 overtime win at Golden 1 Center on March 5. Utah leads the all-time series 101-82 and holds a 78-49 advantage during the Sacramento-era.

QUOTE

“We’re competing and that’s the biggest thing - we’re not laying down. Even though we’re not in the playoff race, we’re playing like we’re in the playoff race and that’s bigtime.” -Willie Cauley-Stein following the win over the Grizzlies

Kings beat Grizzlies for Joerger: 'He really wanted that one'

Kings beat Grizzlies for Joerger: 'He really wanted that one'

SACRAMENTO -- Sometimes a game means a little bit more than just one of 82. For Dave Joerger, beating his former team is gratifying, whether he wants to admit it or not, especially when that team is in the middle of major playoff push.

“I know he really wanted that one, you could tell before and during the game,” veteran point guard Darren Collison said of his head coach after the Kings’ 91-90 over the Memphis Grizzlies. “Anytime you go against your former team it definitely means a lot.”

Everyone noticed the change in Joerger. Be it in film prep or in walk-through, something was different. Despite the playoff chase being over, Joerger turned to his veterans and they delivered in the clutch.

“Anytime you play against your former team, whether it be a coach or a player, you have a little more energy, you have a little more incentive to win,” Anthony Tolliver said.

Ten Kings players saw court time, but both Skal Labissiere and Langston Galloway played sparingly as Joerger tightened his rotation. All five starters played 30 minutes or more, with Collison seeing a team-high 37 minutes.

The veteran point guard finished with a game-high 23 points and seven assists in the win. His free throws with 5.7 seconds remaining pushed the Kings into the lead and Memphis’ last ditch effort to win the game at the buzzer rimmed out.

“The more games we win, it’s going to be better for these young guys,” Collison said. “It’s very hard to win in this league and winning is contagious.”

This was the second straight victory for Sacramento after dropping four in a row. The team is now 5-12 since the All-Star break and they are 4-4 over their last eight games.

“We’re competing and that’s the biggest thing - we’re not laying down,” Willie Cauley-Stein said. “Even though we’re not in the playoff race, we’re playing like we’re in the playoff race and that’s bigtime.”

Cauley-Stein continued his strong play since the break. The second-year big posted 12 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out three assists in 33 minutes. He played solid defense on veteran Zach Randolph down the stretch.

It was a team effort. Four players scored in double-figures, including rookie Buddy Hield, who scored 14 points and grabbed four rebounds. Big man Kosta Koufos added 11 points, five rebounds and three blocks, while Ty Lawson finished with 10 points in 19 minutes of action.

Following the game, Joerger alluded to this being the final time we will see many of the veterans playing major minutes together. With just eight games remaining in the season, it’s time to give the young core the reigns and let them show what they can do.

“This was maybe our last stand for the year as far as you’re probably not going to see all those veterans play together for the rest of the season,” said Joerger. “It’s at home, it’s a great opportunity. The guys went out there and laid it all on the line.”

The Kings return to their home court on Wednesday when the Utah Jazz roll through Golden 1 Center. Of their remaining eight games on the schedule, Sacramento has four home contests and four on the road. They’ll finish the 2016-17 season on April 12 in Los Angeles against the Clippers.