MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP/CBS13) — The Sacramento Kings are officially eliminated from playoff contention for a record-tying 15th straight season.
Dillon Brooks scored 30 points and the Memphis Grizzlies used a late rally to defeat the Kings 116-110 on Thursday night in the first of a back-to-back between the teams.READ MORE: Judge Denies Restraining Order Against New Sacramento City Council Employee
Jonas Valanciunas had 24 points and 13 rebounds for Memphis, Kyle Anderson added 14 points, and Ja Morant had 12 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
Justin James scored a career-high 31 points to lead the Kings, who were eliminated from contention for the play-in tournament. Chimezie Metu had 17 points and was key along with James to help the Kings, who had won six of their previous seven, build a fourth-quarter lead. Buddy Hield and Terence Davis scored 16 points each, and Delon Wright had 15 points and eight assists.
The Kings were without four of their top six scorers, but still increased the lead to eight in the fourth quarter behind James and Metu. Sacramento still led by six with 3:39 remaining after a 3-pointer from Metu.
But Kyle Anderson answered with five straight points to bring Memphis within a point at 110-109. Valanciunas then converted a three-point play to give Memphis the lead for good — 112-110 — with 1:23 left.
Both teams shot well to open the game and the Kings benefitted from hitting seven of 11 3-pointers in the first quarter. Sacramento made 10 of 19 from 3-point range in the half.READ MORE: Low River Levels To Blame For ‘Earthy’ Taste To Sacramento Tap Water, City Says
James had 16 in the half for the Kings, who led 60-59 at the break.
Memphis’ half was lackluster coupled with bad ballhandling leading to 10 turnovers. Brooks was the most active of the Grizzlies, scoring 17 while Valanciunas had 12 points.
Memphis built a slight buffer by outscoring the Kings 30-23 in the third quarter to carry an 89-83 lead into the fourth.
The Kings’ current playoff drought is the longest of any current NBA team and ties the 15-year drought (1977-91) of the Buffalo Braves, now known as the Los Angeles Clippers
Kings: Continued to play without key contributors such as G De’Aaron Fox (health and safety protocol), F Harrison Barnes (left abductor tightness), Marvin Bagley (right groin tightness) and rookie G Tyrese Halilburton (left knee hyperextension). … Richaun Holmes left in the second quarter with right knee soreness and did not return. … James’ previous career-high in points was 16 against Utah on April 28.MORE NEWS: James Duncan Harrell, 24, Identified As Pilot Killed In Small Plane Crash Near Truckee
Grizzlies: Valanciunas recorded his 48th double-double this season and passed Shane Battier for 11th on the franchise list for defensive rebounds. Battier had 1,236. … G Grayson Allen missed his fifth straight game with left abdominal soreness. … Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke had 12 points each, with Clarke shooting 5 of 7.