If you saw the Memphis Grizzlies at Golden 1 Center on Saturday, you might think they’re an offensive juggernaut.
No, the Kings just made them look that way.
The Grizzlies became the latest team to take advantage of Sacramento’s weak 3-point defense, making a franchise-record 17 in a 112-98 win.
After a season-best four-game winning streak, the Kings have endured back-to-back defeats. Each time, they have said they weren’t physical enough and allowed easy shots.
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That was certainly the case Saturday as the Grizzlies made 17 of 35 from beyond the arc.
Kings coach Dave Joerger said his team was beaten “start to finish, position by position, up and down” in a game that was not “one of our better performances.”
DeMarcus Cousins called it a “bad effort all around” and a “step back” this season.
“At the end of the day, it comes down to you having some type of pride and dignity in stopping your man,” Cousins said. “That’s what it comes down to – forget a scheme, forget a rotation – one-on-one, I’m going to make sure I stop my man. I’m not going to let this guy drive past me or get into the lane, create something for somebody else. ...
“Until we’re ready to buckle down and do that, guys are going to continue to kill us from behind the 3-point line. Guys are going to continue to get into the paint and do what they want. Teams are going to come in here and run us over.”
The Kings entered Saturday allowing 10.5 3-pointers per game, tied for third-most in the league. The Grizzlies average 8.6 3-pointers, tied for 19th.
It was the fourth time this season the Kings have given up at least 15 3-pointers in a game.
When asked why the Kings allow so many team to get hot from 3-point range, forward Matt Barnes said: “I don’t know. That’s a good question. We can’t stop anybody from hitting 3s.”
The Grizzlies entered Saturday averaging 98.2 points, 29th in the league, and had no problem surpassing that total, led by Mike Conley (22 points) and JaMychal Green (18 points). Six Grizzlies scored in double figures as the team racked up 25 assists.
Memphis (22-14) entered Saturday averaging 20.1 assists, 26th in the league.
“You can’t give up that many points (to a team) that averages (98.2 points) a game,” said guard Garrett Temple. “We can’t give up that many 3s and allow them to shoot that well from the 3-point line on top of giving up offensive rebounds. They just beat us flat out on every spot of the court (today).”
The Kings (14-19) played without forward Rudy Gay (strained right hip flexor) and guard Arron Afflalo (strained right elbow). They also lost guard Ty Lawson to injury during the game.
He suffered a sinus fracture when he inadvertently clashed heads with Memphis guard Tony Allen.
Cousins said injuries aren’t an excuse for the Kings’ two-game losing streak.
“I don’t think we’re the first team to deal with it,” Cousins said. “Other teams are stepping up and doing what they have to do. Portland lost their main guy (Damian Lillard) and came in and ran us clean over (Wednesday at Portland), so it’s no excuse. Why is that an excuse for us?”
Cousins led the Kings with 26 points, eight assists and five steals. Barnes had a season-high 20 points. Collison and Anthony Tolliver each had 16 points.
But the Kings allowed Memphis to shoot 50.6 percent from the field.
After the game, Joerger said he’d begin to work rookie guard Malachi Richardson into the rotation.
Cousins does not want to hear youth as an excuse, either.
“I’m tired of these (expletive) excuses, man,” Cousins said. “It’s on us.”