Did someone tell the Kings that they only had to play for a quarter and a half? That’s what it seemed like Saturday night, as Sacramento seemingly gave up after the Grizzlies came back and took the lead going into halftime.
Beno Udrih was sizzling early, scoring 18 of a game-high 24 points in the first half. None of the Grizzlies were able to guard him, and even when they did, he still found ways to score (he shot 10-13 from the field).
While Udrih’s brilliance was enough to keep Memphis at bay early, it wasn’t enough to overcome Sacramento’s lackluster defensive effort, as well as nobody helping Udrih share the load on offense. Memphis was able to pound the ball inside at will and nobody on the Kings bothered to stop them.
Samuel Dalembert got the start for Sacramento over DeMarcus Cousins for an as of yet unexplained reason (Cousins was yanked from yesterday’s game in the 3rd quarter and barely played the rest of the way, so perhaps this was carryover), but neither he or Cousins were able to do anything against the Grizzlies big men.
Memphis’s bigs (Randolph, Gasol, Arthur, and Haddadi) combined for 71 points on 65.3% shooting, as well as grabbing 31 rebounds. Sacramento as a team scored just 92 and grabbed 38 boards. Those big men were a big reason for the huge points in the paint advantage Memphis enjoyed (78 to 46), but almost anyone wearing a Grizzlies jersey was able to get to the basket at will.
Sacramento had more problems besides a porous defense though. Another high turnover game (18) led to 20 points off turnovers for Memphis.
Marcus Thornton scored 15 points in his second game for the Kings, but was much less efficient than the previous night. He missed all 4 of his 3PA and finished just 7-18 from the field.
For Sacramento, this was a disappointing end to the longest road trip of the season. All but one game (the first, a win against Phoenix) were without star Tyreke Evans (out for at least 3 weeks with plantar fasciitis), and the margin of defeat in those 5 losses was 21.2 points.
The Kings head back home on Monday to face Blake Griffin and the Clippers.