The Sacramento Kings attempted to use a high-tempo offense against one of the NBA’s most notoriously meticulous teams.
George Karl wanted the ball pushed in transition and for early offense to dictate this contest against the Memphis Grizzlies, but the game became slow-paced, fitting the preference of the opposition.
Transition was effective early on for the Kings, as they managed to gain a man-advantage on almost every attempt at pushing the ball up the floor. The Grizzlies had trouble getting back on defense initially, and it opened easy scoring opportunities. It would not, however, carry over into the second half.
DeMarcus Cousins was put into foul trouble in the third quarter, as Zach Randolph‘s goal on every trip down the floor was to draw contact from Sacramento’s big. Cousins was already having a poor performance, and had four fouls within the first three minutes of the third quarter.
Karl received a technical in the third quarter, after arguing a foul on Cousins which he felt was unfairly called.
“We weren’t getting any fouls. I know they’re a contender to win the championship, but the balance of the game was upsetting everybody and I felt the balance of the game was tilting toward Marc and not toward DeMarcus,” said George Karl.
Memphis made its run in this quarter on the backs of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, who took advantage of Cousins’ absence.
Randolph had 20 points, five rebounds, and an assist on the night. Gasol scored 14 points, grabbed seven rebounds and delivered six assists.
The Kings outplayed the Grizzlies in the fourth quarter, as Rudy Gay took the full scoring load as Cousins foul trouble continued. Karl drew up plays to get Gay open shots, and he shot an efficient 12-for-20 from the field.
Gay had 28 points, six assists, five rebounds and a steal as he carried the Kings until Cousins was back on the floor.
“Rudy was sensational. They didn’t have an answer for Rudy and we had enough offense, enough structure, to get him the ball,” said Karl.
With Cousins back on the court in what had been a close game, Sacramento was able to extend their lead to 14 points. He only played 24 minutes on the night, but still posted 16 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. He would foul out of the game after the victory was fully secured.
“When you can hold a team to 14 points in the fourth quarter, it’s a sign that you can play both sides of the court. Memphis always does this, and they usually win,” said Karl.
The Kings played Memphis’ game and beat them at it.