The Memphis Grizzlies will try to bounce back from a tough loss when they close out a three-game western trip Sunday against the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena.
The Grizzlies had won four in a row until dropping an 86-84 decision Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers. Memphis forged a furious rally from 13 points down, only to come up short. Mike Conley drove the lane and his shot missed at the buzzer. He was defended by Dwight Howard, who was not whistled for a foul.
"We just didn't get the key stops at the end and we gave up a couple of offensive rebounds," Grizzlies guard Jerryd Bayless said. "That was pretty tough, but overall, we put ourselves in a position to win and just didn't close it out tonight."
Bayless had 14 points off the bench and Conley finished with a team-best 21 points for Memphis, which is fifth in the West and just one-half game behind Denver for the third spot. Zach Randolph had 15 points and Marc Gasol ended with 11, eight boards and seven assists.
The Grizzlies are headed to the postseason for a third straight season and for the sixth time in franchise history.
Memphis owns a 21-17 road record, too.
Sacramento will resume its five-game homestand Sunday and is 0-3 on the residency after taking a 117-108 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.
Isaiah Thomas poured in a game-high 29 points and Tyreke Evans added 26 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Kings, who got 16 points and 16 rebounds from Jason Thompson.
"They just made plays, we didn't get defensive stops," said Thomas. "It wasn't just that second quarter, it was the third and fourth quarters. We didn't get stops."
The Kings fell to 19-19 at home and is winless in four straight as the host. They will close out the homestand Wednesday versus New Orleans. Kings center DeMarcus Cousins played just 9:08 against Dallas and scored six points.
Evans is averaging 23.0 ppg in his last three games for a Kings squad ranked first in the NBA with 108.1 ppg since the All-Star break. Sacramento has scored 100 or more points in 13 of its last 14 home contests.
Sacramento has dropped the first three meetings with Memphis this season and will try to avoid the series sweep. The Grizzlies are 10-2 in the past 12 games against the Kings, who are 23-4 in the past 27 encounters in Sacramento.