Kings-Grizzlies Preview

While the Memphis Grizzlies are holding things together amid an injury-filled stretch, the ailing Sacramento Kings are quickly falling apart.

The series history in Memphis suggests the Kings will continue crumbling Wednesday night.

The Grizzlies seek a season sweep and their 12th straight home win over the Kings, who have lost three straight and are fading fast from the Western Conference postseason race.

Losing Marc Gasol for the season in early February was a huge blow to Memphis (35-24), which has played its last five games without defensive specialist Tony Allen due to a sore left knee.

But others have stepped up - mainly Zach Randolph inside - and the Grizzlies have won five of their last seven games to solidify their place as a top-five team in the West.

Randolph has helped fill the void of Gasol's team-leading 16.6 points per game, averaging 17.1 in seven without him, while Lance Stephenson, Vince Carter, P.J. Hairston and Matt Barnes have expanded their offensive roles.

The Grizzlies fell 111-106 at lowly Phoenix on Saturday, but Randolph finished with 22 points and six assists in Monday's 103-96 win at Denver to help Memphis close its three-game trip with two wins.

''It's a happy locker room,'' coach Dave Joerger said. ''We played with the focus that was lacking in Phoenix."

Memphis has three winnable games ahead on its homestand, closing it with Friday's game against Utah and Sunday's rematch with the Suns. The Grizzlies are 14-3 at FedExForum since Dec. 14.

Sacramento (24-34) hasn't fared so well while banged up and sits four games back of Houston for the West's No. 8 seed - the spot it held after a season-high five-game win streak in mid January. Since, the Kings are 4-11.

Making matters worse is a growing injury report.

Second-leading scorer Rudy Gay (strained right shoulder) and Seth Curry (sprained right foot) sat out Monday's 131-116 loss to Oklahoma City. Gay suffered his injury in Friday's 117-107 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, a game in which Curry scored a career-high 19 points.

Gay and Rajon Rondo had MRIs on Monday morning, though Rondo returned from a one-game absence due to a sore thumb by registering a franchise record with his 39th double-digit assist game.

Even DeMarcus Cousins sprained his ankle against Oklahoma City, though he had it re-taped and returned to post 35 points and 12 rebounds.

While Rondo and Cousins should play Wednesday, Gay and Curry are considered day to day.

Sacramento went winless on its homestand while playing the Nos. 2-4 offenses in the league when it comes to effective field-goal percentage: San Antonio, the Thunder and the Clippers. The Kings' four-game trip goes through Memphis, Dallas, San Antonio and New Orleans, followed by a homestand opener against East-leading Cleveland.

"I think we're all frustrated," coach George Karl said. "No one's going to feel sorry for us, no one's going to give us a game. We're going to just have to figure out how to go get one."

It's been more than six years since Sacramento won in Memphis. The Kings have lost 11 straight at FedExForum as part of a 3-19 stretch against the Grizzlies that dates to November 2009.

Memphis won this season's first two meetings, 103-89 on Nov. 3 and 121-117 on Jan. 30.

Cousins finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds and 9 assists in the second meeting in Memphis, but he made only 3 of 17 shots and committed six turnovers. He missed the first game in Sacramento due to a strained right Achilles.

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