Sacramento (5-7) at Memphis (4-9)

Light Rain Currently: Memphis, TN
Temp: 69° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Mon Nov 23, 2009
  • TV: CSCA
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Sacramento Kings coach Paul Westphal is proud of the way his team his playing. Their effort just hasn’t led to many wins lately.

Westphal’s Kings look to avoid a season-high fourth straight loss Monday night when they visit the Memphis Grizzlies.

Wins were expected to be hard to come by for Sacramento (5-7) after Kevin Martin(notes) fractured his left wrist in the first week of November, but the team has remained competitive.

The Kings won their first four games following Martin’s injury but have lost three in a row since. The last two defeats have been especially hard to swallow.

After falling to Southwest Division-leading Dallas 104-102 on Friday, Sacramento lost to Houston 113-106 on Saturday. The Kings had a chance against the Rockets, pulling within three on a 3-pointer by Beno Udrih(notes) with 1:19 remaining, but could not get any closer.

Sacramento had six players in double figures, led by Spencer Hawes’(notes) season-high 24 points and Udrih’s 18.

“I like the spirit and the effort on this team,” Westphal said. “Everyone should be pleased with the way we’re playing. I like the way we compete every night. I’m sorry we couldn’t cash in on the effort. This team has heart but we haven’t learned how to win.”

Making things even tougher for Sacramento, rookie Tyreke Evans(notes) sat out Saturday after spraining a finger on his right hand diving for a ball against the Mavericks.

Evans had been carrying the Kings’ offense lately, averaging 24.0 points in the six games since Martin’s injury, and his status for this game is uncertain. He had a season-low three points in a 127-116 overtime victory over Memphis on Nov. 2 while Martin finished with 48 on 7 of 10 shooting from 3-point range.

Like Sacramento, the Grizzlies (4-9) are also coming off a tough loss.

Memphis led Milwaukee by 12 points in the first half Friday and was tied at 90 with 3:21 to play but ended up losing 103-98, snapping a three-game winning streak.

“We should have won this game,” said Zach Randolph(notes), who scored 18 points. “We have to get ready for Monday against Sacramento. We need to prepare and come out and play.”

Despite Friday’s defeat, the Grizzlies again received strong performances from Rudy Gay(notes) and Marc Gasol(notes).

Gay finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds and is averaging 26.0 points and 8.0 boards in his last three games, while Gasol had 14 points on 6 of 8 shooting and is averaging 16.5 points on 84.4 percent shooting over the last four.

Both players also had solid performances against the Kings earlier this month.

Gay finished with 21 points and a career high-tying 13 rebounds, and Gasol added 16 and 16, respectively. Randolph led the way for Memphis in that game with 30 points and a season-best 16 rebounds.

The loss to Sacramento earlier this month was part of a seven-game skid for the Grizzlies.

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Monday, Nov 23