Kings-Grizzlies Preview

The Associated Press

Given how well the Memphis Grizzlies have played this season, it's no surprise coach Lionel Hollins is baffled by their current losing streak.

Looking to avoid a season-high fourth straight defeat, the Grizzlies hope to turn things around and continue their home dominance of the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

Memphis (24-13) is among the top four teams in the Western Conference because it allows 90.4 points per contest to offset its scoring average of 93.7. However, the Grizzlies have lost three straight to Dallas, the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio, each by at least 21 points.

They've averaged 79.3 points and shot 36.4 percent while yielding 102.0 and 50.9 percent from the field in those games.

"I'm at a loss for words right now," Hollins told the NBA's official website. "When you shoot poorly it's a recurrent theme. When you turn the ball over it's a recurrent theme and when you don't guard it's a recurrent theme."

That was the case in Wednesday's 103-82 loss to the Spurs, as the Grizzlies went 1 for 9 from 3-point range and allowed San Antonio to shoot 57.9 percent from the field - the highest against Memphis this season. Memphis had no fast-break points and was outscored 46-26 in the paint.

"Our defense seemed to be all over the place,'' Hollins said. "Guys rotating when they shouldn't be rotating. We had guys out of position playing different spots.''

The Grizzlies also lost a season-high three in a row Dec. 8-14, but those defeats came by a combined 17 points. Memphis last dropped four straight games Jan. 24-30.

Rudy Gay had 17 points Wednesday as each Grizzlies starter scored in double figures.

This slide follows a four-game winning streak in which Memphis averaged 100.0 points and gave up 86.8. That includes a 113-81 win at Sacramento on Jan. 7.

The Grizzlies have taken eight of 10 overall versus the Kings (15-24), and they've averaged 115.6 points and 52.7 percent shooting in winning five straight meetings at home by an average of 18.8 points.

Gay was held to eight points and 2-of-10 shooting at Sacramento, but he's scored 22.9 points a game and shot 49.2 percent in his last seven home contests against the Kings.

Though Sacramento has lost 13 of 16 at Memphis, it can match a season high with its third consecutive victory after beating two of the worst clubs in the East, Cleveland and Washington.

"We got two in a row, go to Memphis, that's a tough team," forward John Salmons said. "We've just go to stay together and play good basketball."

Salmons, DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans each had 21 points as the Kings overcame an 11-point second-half deficit for a 95-94 home win over the Wizards on Wednesday.

"Having three players have 21 points, that's sharing the ball,'' said Cousins, who pulled down 16 rebounds but also had six of his team's 18 turnovers. "It was a good team game for us all around.''

Cousins has totaled 47 points, 30 rebounds and 11 assists in the last two games but scored 10 against the Grizzlies earlier this month.

Evans, who played collegiately at Memphis, has shot 14 of 21 while scoring 39 points in the last two contests. However, he was held to five against the Grizzlies in his first game after missing 11 with a knee injury.

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