MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — After a trio of blowout losses, the Memphis Grizzlies got back in rhythm for their own double-digit victory.
Mike Conley scored 19 points, Marc Gasol added 18 points and 10 rebounds as the Grizzlies snapped a three-game losing streak Friday night with an 85-69 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
The Grizzlies lost 103-82 San Antonio, 99-73 against the Los Angeles Clippers and 104-83 to Dallas in their last three games.
"It was a must-win game," said forward Marreese Speights, who had 10 points and nine rebounds filling in for the injured Zach Randolph. "We knew that before the game. We knew that (Thursday) when we had a team meeting. We knew we couldn't lose at home and get blown out like we did the last three games."
All five Memphis starters were in double figures as Tony Allen had 14 points and nine rebounds, plus six assists. Allen also had three blocks, while Rudy Gay scored 15 points.
The tailspin, amid trade talks involving Gay and other distractions, such as Gasol and Conley being the only players invited to a dinner with new owner Robert Pera, led to worries from fans and the team meeting Speights mentioned.
The session and Thursday's practice helped changed the mindset, several players acknowledged.
"I think we played with a sense of urgency early," Conley said. "You could see guys when bad plays were made, we were still running back on defense. If we turned it over, we'd run back on defense and not worry about it, and go on to the next play. Instead of holding our heads and feeling down about every situation we were in, we just kept playing through it."
The Kings seemed to do little to resist the Grizzlies change in attitude. Sacramento shot poorly through most of the game, finishing the night at a season-worst 34 percent and hitting only two of 10 shots from beyond the arc. That translated into a season-low in points for the Kings.
DeMarcus Cousins was the only Sacramento player in double figures with 22 points, plus 12 rebounds as the Kings saw their two-game winning streak end. Isaiah Thomas had nine points and five assists as the Kings recorded a season-low nine assists in the game.
"We couldn't find the right energy or rhythm we needed," Kings coach Keith Smart said, later adding that his team "had a lot of missed shots, easy paint shots.
"We just couldn't finish plays. We had layup opportunities, close paint shots. We just could never get ourselves into anything that was going to be easy for us to break any runs."
Memphis played the game without Randolph, who sat out with a back strain suffered in the Grizzlies' last game at San Antonio. Smart had thought that could benefit his team by concentrating on Gay, who he believed would try to pick up the offensive loss. And Cousins did play well against Speights. There was just no other help from the Kings.