Grizzlies put defense to test vs. Kings

( – The Memphis Grizzlies are only one of three teams in the
NBA with one loss and owe it all to great play on defense.

The Grizzlies are allowing a league-low 89.4 points per game and will attempt
to shut down the Sacramento Kings Thursday at FedEx Forum.

Memphis is 7-1 and rebounded from its only loss of the season with Tuesday’s
107-102 triumph over the Los Angeles Lakers. The disappointing Lakers put up a
fight and were led by Kobe Bryant’s 28 points. Mike Conley paced the Grizzlies
with 23 points and Beno Udrih played a big role off the bench with 16.

Courtney Lee and Kosta Koufos scored 15 and 14 points, respectively, for the
Grizzlies, who shot a season-best 52.6 percent from the floor and opened a
four-game homestand on a high note. Memphis is 49-5 since the start of 2011-12
when shooting at least 50 percent.

“Everybody on this team can play valuable minutes, that’s how deep we are,”
Koufos said. “It’s exciting.”

Zach Randolph posted his sixth double-double in eight games with 11 points and
10 rebounds. Marc Gasol ended with eight points, eight boards and nine

The Grizzlies, whose only loss came at Milwaukee on Saturday, are 3-0 at home
and unbeaten in the last 17 regular season games at FedEx Forum. The last
regular season loss at home was Feb. 5, 2014 versus Dallas.

Sacramento will close out a four-game road trip Thursday and opened the
sojourn with a double-overtime win in Phoenix. However, the Kings have dropped
back-to-back games at Oklahoma City and Dallas, and suffered a 106-98 defeat
to the Mavericks on Tuesday.

The Kings rolled to a 32-14 lead after 12 minutes, but the Mavericks scored
30-plus points the next two quarters and fended off Sacramento in the final
period. Rudy Gay led the visitors with 26 points, Ramon Sessions scored 18 and
Ben McLemore netted 17 points.

Twenty-two turnovers – 17 in the second half – led to 15 points for Dallas and
Gay recorded seven.

“A lot of it was turnovers,” Kings coach Michael Malone said. “Quarters two,
three, and four they outscore us 92 to 66. Great first quarter, but this is a
48 minute game.”

DeMarcus Cousins had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings, who have lost 21
straight in Dallas. Sessions was starting for injured guard Darren Collison.
Collison is in his first year with Sacramento and listed as probable for
tonight’s game with a balky left shoulder.

Sacramento, which is averaging 103.0 ppg, is 5-3 and had a 2-6 record after
eight games in 2013-14. It was 6-3 back in 2002-03.

The Kings will begin a three-game homestand Saturday versus San Antonio, New
Orleans and Chicago, and lost all three meetings with the Grizzlies last
season. In fact, the Kings are winless in seven straight against Memphis and
2-14 in the previous 16 games in this series.

Memphis is unbeaten in the last eight meetings at FedEx Forum.