By: Malaika Bobino
Sacramento, CA – After missing the previous eleven games with a sore left knee, Tyreke Evans returned to the lineup. Coming off the bench he was greeted to loud cheers from the crowd midway through the second quarter.
But his return made no difference in the Memphis Grizzlies 113-81 rout of the Kings. After a great start in the first, Sacramento could not keep up with the Grizzlies when they puled away in the third quarter on a 10-0 run to build a 87-65 lead headed into the fourth quarter.
“I was waiting for the game to come to me,” said Evans. “But unfortunately the game got out of hand. Memphis played hard, their big men were dunking a lot and they made shots. They are a good team overall.”
Wayne Ellington set a new career-high with 26 points off the bench, he went 10-for-11 from the field and 6-for-7 long range. Zach Randolph finished with 17 points and Mike Conley added 15 points. After a competitive first half, the Grizzlies slipped away shooting lights out on the Kings.
“I hit those first two shots and it carried on from there, Ellington said. “After I made the third and fourth three I thought they were all going in.”
“He was on fire,” said Memphis coach Lionel Hollins. “There’s nothing else to say, except he [Wayne] shot the lights out.”
Sacramento kept pace through the first half, Kings coach Keith Smart used his starting five through the entire first quarter. DeMarcus Cousins faired well but the Grizzlies did a good job of containing him to a mere 10 points and eight rebounds.
John Salmons led with 17 points and Jason Thompson finished with 12 points. Sacramento shot under 37 percent and were held under 36 second half points. It was their lowest scoring game at home this season snapping a four-game winning streak at Sleep Train Arena.
“That was obviously not the welcome home party we wanted,” Smart said. “We always prepare for everybody, but he [Wellington] made some big shots. You don’t account for the fact that he’s going to have a 26-point game.”