The Sacramento Kings made a game effort, cutting a 20-point deficit to three in the fourth quarter, but the Memphis Grizzlies finished strong for a 97-86 win at Sleep Train Arena Sunday afternoon.
Memphis led 47-34 at halftime before opening the second half on a 9-1 run, going up 56-36 on a short jumper by Zach Randolph a little more than three minutes into the third quarter. The Kings rallied to close the gap to nine at 74-65 by quarter’s end as Travis Outlaw scored 11 of his team-high 18 points in the third quarter.
The Kings closed the gap to 82-79 with 7:18 remaining when Outlaw buried a 3-pointer off a feed from John Salmons, but the Grizzlies came back to score the next seven points to increase their lead back to 89-79 with 4:35 remaining when Mike Conley scored on a drive.
Sacramento (2-7) couldn’t get closer than eight the rest of the way.
Zach Randolph finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies (5-5). Marc Gasol and Conley each had 19 points and nine assists and Tony Allen tossed in 12 points.
Outlaw had all 18 of his points in just 17 minutes and scored them all in the second half. Isaiah Thomas scored 15 points, Marcus Thornton added 12 and Salmons had 10 points and five assists. Outlaw and Hamady Ndiaye led Sacramento with six rebounds each.
It was a miserable night, though, for the Kings’ starters. None of them scored in double figures and as a unit they mustered just 29 points on 12-for-32 shooting. Memphis shot 55.6 percent (40-for-72) to just 37.9 percent (33-for-87) for the Kings.
But the Kings’ starting five also didn’t see a lot of time on the floor. Luc Mbah a Moute played 26 minutes, the most of any Sacramento starters, while Ben McLemore and Greivis Vasquez logged just 19 minutes each, DeMarcus Cousins played 18 and Jason Thompson only 10.
It was the bench unit that triggered the comeback, scoring 24 of the Kings’ 31 third-quarter points and 20 of Sacramento’s 21 points in the final period. Cousins, McLemore and Vasquez never got off the bench in the final 12 minutes as the Kings made their comeback.
Sacramento is just 1-3 on their current five-game homestand, which ends Tuesday night when they host the Phoenix Suns for a 7 p.m. Pacific tipoff.