Sacramento Kings against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif. Hector Amezcua The Sacramento Bee
Sacramento Kings against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif. Hector Amezcua The Sacramento Bee

Kings Blog

Jason Jones, Sacramento Kings beat writer

Kings Blog

Veterans start slow, point guard depth is thinning and Grizzlies run Kings off the floor

By Jason Jones

jejones@sacbee.com

December 31, 2017 06:30 PM

Perhaps the 4 p.m. start is part of the explanation, but the Kings never looked ready to play and were trounced by the Memphis Grizzlies, 114-96, Sunday at Golden 1 Center.

It was the second loss in a row for the Kings and fourth in their last five games.

Former King Tyreke Evans led Memphis (12-25) with 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists in 26 minutes.

Willie Cauley-Stein came off the bench to lead the Kings (12-24) with 21 points and eight rebounds.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

This is not a youth problem

The Kings had another lackluster start to the game with a starting lineup of veterans (George Hill, Garrett Temple, Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos) and the rookie that no one considers a true rookie, Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Still, it was a clunker of a first quarter, with the Kings trailing 36-22, and only got worse as the Kings fell behind by as many as 33 in the second half.

If the veterans are supposed to set the example of how to prepare and come out ready to play, this is not the way to do it. This is the third time in the last four games the Kings have looked lethargic, including the last two at home.

The Grizzlies played Saturday night and had an earlier-than-normal start time Sunday, but looked like the more energetic team.

Shortage at the point

Frank Mason III left the game at the end of the first quarter with a bruised right heel. That left the Kings with Hill as the only point guard left, with Bogdanovic and Temple as the other viable options. The Kings played most of the fourth quarter without a point guard on the floor as the game was well out of reach.

Rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox is still out with a partially torn right thigh muscle but has begun working out again.

The Kings host Charlotte on Tuesday, and it could be a long night if there’s no one other than Hill to chase around Hornets point guard Kemba Walker.

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Evans finished last season with the Kings after being part of the deal that sent DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans. Evans was still dealing with the lingering effects of knee surgery and wasn’t moving well. He didn’t play in back-to-back games and did not resemble the player who won Rookie of the Year with Sacramento in 2010.

Evans is healthy and has played well this season, even as the Grizzlies have struggled.

The Kings had no answer for Evans on Sunday.

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.