With their playoff hopes virtually over, the Kings look to end a four-game losing streak on the road as they conclude their season series with the NBA-worst Grizzlies on Tuesday night.
Sacramento (31-45) has made the playoffs in eight straight seasons, and despite a loss by the Los Angeles Clippers to Dallas on Monday night, a ninth consecutive appearance seems highly unlikely. A 112-106 loss to Houston on Sunday night didn’t help the Kings’ postseason chances, and neither has a four-game road skid.
Teams are averaging 121.3 points against Sacramento during its last three road games, none of which have gone past regulation. Kevin Martin scored 24 points and Francisco Garcia had 16 on Sunday for the Kings, who have lost eight of 10 overall.
“I thought the effort was there, and that was a positive to take out of it,” Sacramento coach Eric Musselman said.
Musselman continues to expand his use of youngsters Ronnie Price, Justin Williams and Garcia - mostly at the expense of Mike Bibby and Brad Miller. Bibby scored just 11 points Sunday, Miller had four and neither played more than 30 minutes.
Bibby is averaging 10.0 points while shooting 29.3 percent in his last five games. Miller is averaging 4.0 points in his last four games.
Martin, meanwhile, is averaging 22.3 points in his last six games and 23.0 in two contests against the Grizzlies (19-59).
Memphis, the first team to have been eliminated from playoff contention, has lost five straight, allowing 118.0 points per game. The Grizzlies also have dropped four in a row and nine of 10 at home.
Memphis, though, has won three straight home games against Sacramento, including a 124-117 victory on Jan. 29.
The Grizzlies were without injured starters Damon Stoudamire, Mike Miller and Rudy Gay in a 116-89 loss at Orlando on Saturday night. Their replacements - Tarence Kinsey, Stromile Swift and Junior Harrington - combined for 22 points on 8-of-24 shooting.
“This is the NBA, there isn’t anyone out there who is going to feel sorry for us,” said backup point guard Chucky Atkins, who led Memphis with 18 points and five assists. “Everybody plays undermanned all the time and it’s our time. We have to keep working to improve.”
Stoudamire and Miller have both missed eight straight games with knee injuries, and their status for Tuesday’s game is uncertain. Gay, a rookie swingman averaging 11.0 points and 4.5 rebounds, missed his first game with a sprained right ankle and is day-to-day.
Memphis and Sacramento have split two games this season, with each team winning at home. The Grizzlies are averaging 117.5 points in the season series while Sacramento has posted 116.0 per game.