MEMPHIS, Tenn. A sign taped in the visitors' locker room at FedExForum reminded the Kings of just how badly the Memphis Grizzlies had beaten them earlier this season.
The two losses were by a combined 48 points, and the bottom of the sign had the Kings' average points in those defeats 75.
Tuesday night, the Kings managed to hang around for a good portion of the game. But the second half of the third quarter proved to be their undoing.
That's when a one-point deficit grew to 11, and the Kings eventually lost 108-101, ending their two-game winning streak and extending their road losing streak to five games.
"A piece of a quarter," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "Maybe three minutes, four minutes here, a couple of mistakes, breakdowns, and that cost us the game right there."
The Kings trailed 68-67 with 5:48 left in the third and finished the quarter behind 84-73.
Center DeMarcus Cousins said the Grizzlies took control by getting physical with the Kings.
"Everybody couldn't match it, and the results were that they outplayed us," Cousins said.
Nevertheless, the Kings had a chance late in the fourth quarter.
Tyreke Evans' layup closed the deficit to 99-93 with 4:19 to play, but the Kings came no closer.
Evans could have cut the lead to six again with two free throws with 3:53 to play, but he missed both, and Memphis quickly scored to push the lead back to 10.
Evans went 0 for 4 from the foul line and said he couldn't remember the last time he missed all his free throws in a game.
"My brother just got on me about that, missing four free throws," Evans said. "But it happened. I've just got to move on to the next game in Dallas (tonight)."
Smart noted Evans has missed some free throws late in other games this season. Evans said it's a matter of "thinking too much" at the free-throw line.
"When you get to the line, you've got to make those freebies," Smart said. "At least give us 50 percent when you go there. He just shot them bad (Tuesday), and when you get a chance on the road to close the game and get the game in your favor, you've got to take those freebies."
Smart opted to finish the game without point guard Isaiah Thomas, who had played well of late. The coach went with Aaron Brooks, who hadn't played more than seven minutes since Jan. 26. Over that span, Brooks didn't play in three consecutive games as Smart used Jimmer Fredette as Thomas' backup.
"I just thought the quickness factor could be in play for us," Smart said of Brooks. "From the point of the attack, I needed someone to get into the paint and make plays, and I thought Aaron did that. And I thought a little bit of his game is coming back to him."
Brooks, a former starter, had 10 points, four assists and one turnover. He said he didn't have much to say about not playing much lately.
Asked if he'd spoken to Smart about his playing time, Brooks said, "No, we didn't talk about it."
Cousins led the Kings (19-34) with 23 points and seven rebounds. Evans had 20 points and seven rebounds.
Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies (33-18) with 24 points and 12 rebounds.