Published March 20, 2012
| Sports Network
The playoff-hopeful Memphis Grizzlies will start a key game road trip in Sacramento on Tuesday.
The Grizzlies, who will also visit Portland, the LA Clippers and the LA Lakers on their trek, are currently the fifth seed in the Western Conference and will be aiming to improve on their 9-11 mark as the visitor on the season.
Memphis halted a two-game slide on Sunday, bouncing back from two straight overtime losses to salvage the finale of a three-game homestand by topping the lowly Washington Wizards, 97-92.
Rudy Gay scored a season-high 27 points and pulled down nine rebounds against the Wizards. Mike Conley tallied 17 points and handed out six assists, while Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph grabbed nine boards apiece and scored 15 and 13 points, respectively.
"Our guys worked hard and picked up the defense and made the right plays down the stretch for us to get the win," remarked Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins after the game. "That's a tough team to play."
The Kings, meanwhile, are nearing the end of a franchise record nine-game residency and improved 4-3 on it with a 115-99 win over Minnesota on Sunday.
Marcus Thornton scored 24 points and Isaiah Thomas had 18 in that one for Sacramento, which will finish the lengthy homestand with a game against Utah on Thursday.
John Salmons added 15 points, Jason Thompson scored 13 with 10 rebounds and Charles Hayes and Donte Green combined for 23 points off the bench in a game Sacramento led by as many as 20.
The lopsided win came on the heels of a 120-95 victory over Boston on Friday, which had followed three straight losses in which the Kings gave up at least 106 points in each game.
Sacramento coach Keith Smart, asked what the difference was between the games, said his team had been distracted leading up to the trade deadline by factors like wondering if their friends would be dealt -- and also, by the rain.
"I didn't know that team," Smart said.
Memphis has won four straight and seven of eight over the Kings, including two meetings this season.
Sacramento used to be a house of horrors for the Grizzlies franchise, which was once 1-25 in California's capital before taking three of their past five trips there.