California

High-scoring Kings face Grizzlies, try to extend streak

The last team to see the “old” Sacramento Kings will be the 12th to experience the new-and-improved edition when the Western Conference’s hottest team visits the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday night.

When the clubs last met, the Grizzlies gave the Kings their fourth straight loss to open the season when the Grizzlies took 31 points from Desmond Bane in a 125-110 win in Sacramento.

A lot has changed in the almost four weeks since then. While the Kings have won nine of 11, including six in a row, the Grizzlies are just 6-6 while losing Bane to a sprained right big toe and Ja Morant to a sprained left ankle.

Sacramento’s recipes for success will be tested on a four-day trip to Memphis, Atlanta and Boston that will include Thanksgiving.

The winning streak was marked by double-digit hits from seven different players, including De’Aaron Fox, who used 57.7 percent shooting to post a 24-point average during the run.

Fox hit 11 of 18 shots from the field for a total of 33 points in Sunday’s 137-129 home win over the Detroit Pistons, a game in which the Kings had 130 points for the third straight season and 120 points for the sixth straight year .

“This is the best basketball he’s played in his career,” teammate Harrison Barnes said of Fox. “He’s playing at an All-Star level. He does it on the offensive (and) defensive end. He brings the boys in. Just everywhere to enable plays.”

Fox had 27 points and Barnes 20 in the earlier loss to Memphis, while Domantas Sabonis missed a triple-double with an assist.

While their stellar play continued, a key to the Kings improvement came with 3-point shooting from Kevin Huerter and Terence Davis, who combined for a 32-to-64 during the winning streak.

In the six games, Sacramento has shot 40.8 percent from 3-point range, the fourth-best mark in the league at that stretch.

Meanwhile, the Grizzlies have strayed defensively. After holding Charlotte and Washington to 99 and 97 points in the last two games of a three-game winning streak earlier this month, Memphis has watched each of its last seven opponents score 102 or more points.

Two of those opponents topped 120, including the Brooklyn Nets in a 127-115 home win over Memphis on Sunday. Dillon Brooks paced the undermanned Grizzlies with 31 points.

Jaren Jackson Jr. joined Bane and Morant on the sidelines on Sunday because he is being brought down slowly after undergoing off-season surgery on his right foot. He is expected to face Kings again.

“You’re taking it easy,” said Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins of the inconsistent lineups. “You control what you can control. We just have to rely on our depth.”

Memphis is 2-0 in games that neither Bane nor Morant have played this season. Tyus Jones started both games and averaged 15 points and 5.5 assists.

– Field level media

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