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Kings vs. Rockets Preview: CAN WE GET MUCH HIGHER?

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Now on to Texas,
where stronger challenges lie.
Is the progress real?

Sacramento Kings at Houston Rockets
Toyota Center, Houston
5 p.m. Pacific on Comcast SportsNet

The Kings roll into Houston to take on the struggling but powerful Rockets. Houston is down at 3-7 thanks in part to a road heavy schedule. The Rockets are 2-1 at home and 1-7 on the road, and have had a slightly tougher schedule than the Kings so far. (B-Ref has Houston at No. 5 in strength of schedule, the Kings are at No. 6.)

Our old friend Kevin Martin leads Houston in scoring, but his numbers are way down (16.7 points per game) and his efficiency is not strong early this season. Luis Scola is faring similarly as the Rockets get used to Kevin McHale's system and requirements. Kyle Lowry has had little trouble translating, as he's been one of the league's very best players early on, averaging 15 points, 9.4 assists, 6.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals.

Defending those two guards -- Lowry and Martin -- is a real test for the Kings' backcourt of Jimmer Fredette and Tyreke Evans. But Evans will rake Martin (assuming that's how the assignments align; McHale could flip Lowry on to Evans and stick Martin on Jimmer), and the Rockets have no one able to guard the DeMarcus Cousins we've seen since Denver.

According to 82games.com, opposing centers are scoring 22 points per 48 minutes on 53 percent shooting against Houston. That'll do.

Game's at 5. Game threads at 5 and 6:30. Let's go Kings!