Memphis is coming in off an 88-82 win over the undermanned Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.
“Every game counts,” Memphis’ Pau Gasol said. “Every game, every shot, every rebound, every loose ball.”
Memphis guard Jason Williams had 17 points, 10 assists and just three turnovers for the Grizzlies, who have also won six straight games at home.
Another impressive statistic for the Grizzlies is their 15-1 record when entering the fourth quarter with the lead.
“We are very proud of that,” Memphis coach Hubie Brown said. “But we’re still not smooth.”
Though their coach thinks they still have a lot of work to do, the Grizzlies still own a franchise-best 23-18 record. However, another mighty challenge awaits Friday in the multitalented Kings.
Sacramento has won 20 of the last 23 games against Memphis, including nine of 10, and leads the all-time series 28-7.
The Kings are coming off a 95-89 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday. Peja Stojakovic scored 27 of his 37 points in the second half to help Sacramento open a season-high six-game road trip on a high note.
Owning an NBA-best 21-3 mark at home this season, Sacramento wants to work on its road record.
“It’s tough to travel, make a long trip in the cold weather,” said Kings guard Mike Bibby, who had a key assist in the final minute of Thursday’s win. “But that’s what you do in the NBA. You have to play through those things. We did it tonight, and now we have to do it all over again (at Memphis).”
STANDINGS (through Jan. 21): Kings - 1st place, Pacific Division. Grizzlies - 6th place, 5 1/2 GB, Midwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Kings - Stojakovic, 25.4 ppg; Miller, 10.5 rpg; Bibby, 5.5 apg. Grizzlies - Gasol, 17.5 ppg and 8.1 rpg; Williams, 7.0 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Kings, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: Dec. 23; Kings, 114-97. At Sacramento, Stojakovic scored 26 of his career-high 41 points in the second half to help the Kings rally from an early 17-point deficit.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Kings - 9-7 on the road; Grizzlies - 14-5 at home.