Kings-Grizzlies Preview

The Associated Press

The Sacramento Kings were able to win just hours after DeMarcus Cousins was told to stay away from the team for apparently demanding a trade. However, the Kings' chances of remaining competitive in the Western Conference likely increase with the second-year center in the lineup.

The Memphis Grizzlies' hopes of making a second straight playoff appearance could be dashed if Zach Randolph can't stay healthy.

Cousins could miss a second consecutive game Tuesday night when the Kings try to avoid a fourth straight road loss to the Grizzlies, who could be without an injured Randolph.

The Kings (2-3) have received solid production from Cousins, who is averaging 13.0 points and a team-best 11.3 rebounds, but he was told to stay home Sunday by coach Paul Westphal after the team said he asked to be traded following Saturday's 114-92 loss to New York.

It wasn't the first outburst from the 21-year-old since Sacramento drafted him fifth overall in 2010.

"Maybe it takes him a couple of more years to really get it," veteran forward Chuck Hayes said after Sunday's 96-80 victory over New Orleans. "As good as he is talented, that's how emotional he is as well. You have to have a short-term memory in this game. That's my young fella, my teammate. If he wants to come back everyone on his team would love to have him."

Westphal said in a statement before Sunday's victory that Cousins' return is "pretty much up to him," but it's uncertain when, or if, he'll be back in the Kings' lineup.

"He's a good player and we need him," guard Tyreke Evans said after Sacramento was outrebounded 60-41 on Sunday.

The Grizzlies (1-3) need Randolph in the lineup after they were outrebounded 55-40 in Sunday's 104-64 loss at Chicago. Randolph finished with two points and three rebounds after leaving late in the first quarter with a bruised right knee.

"This loss had nothing to do with Zach going down," coach Lionel Hollins said following the team's most lopsided defeat since falling 111-66 in Chicago on Jan. 13, 2007. "We were getting beat up then."

The Grizzlies could use Randolph on Tuesday after he averaged team highs of 26.5 points and 13.8 rebounds as Memphis took three of four from Sacramento in 2010-11.

Even if he doesn't play, the Grizzlies could get a nice boost with the return of starting point guard Mike Conley, who has missed the last two games with a sprained left ankle.

Conley averaged 9.8 points and 6.0 assists last season against the Kings.

In Sacramento's last game at FedEx Forum, Randolph had 27 points and 15 rebounds and Conley added 12 points with eight assists as the Grizzlies clinched the West's final playoff spot with a 101-96 victory April 8.

Memphis had its best offensive performance of the season in the Kings' previous visit, a 120-92 win Feb. 26.

Evans, who played one season at the University of Memphis before being drafted fourth overall by Sacramento in 2009, scored a season-high 27 points Sunday. He is averaging 22.0 points, 6.5 boards and 5.0 assists in two games visiting the Grizzlies.

Memphis has won 11 of 14 at home against Sacramento since the beginning of the 2003-04 season.

What to Read Next