With their new players starting to fit in, the Memphis Grizzlies will try to keep taking advantage of a favorable schedule.
The Grizzlies continue a string of games against sub-.500 opponents when the Sacramento Kings visit FedExForum on Tuesday night.
Memphis (32-18) experienced some initial trouble after sending leading scorer Rudy Gay to Toronto on Jan. 30 in the second of two recent trades designed to help the team avoid luxury taxes. The Grizzlies dropped three of their first four after completing that three-team deal but have followed with back-to-back wins, the most recent a 105-88 victory over Minnesota on Sunday.
Tayshaun Prince one of three players acquired in the Gay trade, had a team-best 18 points while making all eight of his shots to match a franchise record for most attempts without a miss. Austin Daye another recent acquisition, scored 16.
“It’s a chemistry thing. Everybody’s getting comfortable with each other,” All-Star forward Zach Randolph said. “It’s just something we’ve got to continue to work on.”
The Grizzlies will try to head into the All-Star break with their first three-game win streak since a four-game run Jan. 6-11. A visit from the Kings (19-33) should give them a good chance to do so as Memphis has won nine of 11 matchups, including a pair of decisive victories this season.
The Grizzlies beat Sacramento 113-81 on the road Jan. 7 and 85-69 on Jan. 18 for their sixth straight home win in the series.
The Kings are the second of five straight Memphis opponents that have losing records. Sacramento, though, is on the verge of matching its longest win streak of the season.
To earn a third straight victory for the first time since Dec. 8, the Kings will have to overcomes their season-long woes on the road. They’ve dropped four straight away from home and are 5-21 there overall.
“You’ve got to play with a different personality on the road,” coach Keith Smart said. “Hopefully, we can use what we’ve done (the past two games).”
The Kings’ 69 points in Memphis were their lowest output of 2012-13, but they’ve averaging 118.5 in the past two games after scoring 89.1 over their previous eight.
Isaiah Thomas had 17 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter of a 117-111 victory over Houston on Sunday, while John Salmons scored 10 of his 23 during that period. DeMarcus Cousins contributed 20 points despite foul trouble.
“Obviously, we have some things we have to work on,” forward Jason Thompson said. “It’s knowing that if you make the extra pass and you can get guys a better look. If our guys have that mentality on the road, we should be good.”
Thomas, who has totaled 48 points in the past two games, has been held to a combined 18 and 25.0 percent shooting (6 of 24) in the two matchups with the Grizzlies this season.
Kings guard Tyreke Evans has totaled 13 points and shot 4 of 13 against Memphis in 2012-13.
Randolph missed the last three home games against the Kings due to a back strain.
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