SACRAMENTO (AP) — Mike Conley had 27 points and 10 assists as the Memphis Grizzlies won their fourth straight by beating the slumping Sacramento Kings 99-89 on Wednesday night.
The Grizzlies took the lead for good in the third quarter and never trailed again in winning for the ninth time in 10 games. They were coming off an impressive 98-81 victory Tuesday night in Portland where they held the NBA’s highest scoring team to 34.5 percent shooting.
Isaiah Thomas scored 24 points and Rudy Gay had 23 for the Kings, who have lost five straight and seven of eight.
DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings’ leading scorer and rebounder, missed his fourth straight game with an ankle sprain.
Gay, a former Memphis player, had missed the previous three games with an Achilles strain. He made a turnaround jumper in the fourth quarter to surpass 10,000 career points.
Zach Randolph had seven of his 18 points in the fourth quarter for the Grizzlies, who won their fifth straight road game and have a 12-7 record away from home. Marc Gasol had 12 points and Mike Miller scored 11.
It’s no coincidence the Grizzlies’ strong play has coincided with the return of Gasol, last year’s Defensive Player of the Year who missed 23 games with a sprained knee. A protector of the rim, creative passer and reliable scorer, Gasol has been instrumental in the Grizzlies’ 7-1 record since his return.
In the past two-plus week, the Grizzlies have beaten Phoenix, Houston twice, and Oklahoma City. Memphis finishes its three-game road trip Friday night in Minnesota.
The Grizzlies badgered the Kings in the fourth quarter, forcing six turnovers.
After making a corner jumper, Tayshaun Prince stole the ball from Gay and converted with a driving layup to give Memphis a 92-85 lead. A basket by Conley and a layup by Prince increased the lead to nine.
Randolph came up with a loose ball and fed Davis for a dunk at the other end, concluding an 11-4 run and putting Memphis up 82-71. But the Kings came back and cut the lead to three on Thomas’ 3-pointer at the 4:35 mark.
Conley had 11 points in the third quarter when the Grizzlies outscored Sacramento 21-17 and took a 69-63 lead into the fourth.
Gay had a strong second quarter with 10 points and was difficult to stop in the third as well. He came up with a loose ball near midcourt and sprinted toward the basket for an emphatic dunk that brought the crowd to its feet and put the Kings ahead 61-59.
Gasol scored eight points and the Grizzlies shot 52 percent and led 48-46 lead at intermission. Both Gay and Thomas had 12 points for the Kings.
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