Sacramento remains undefeated on this four game road trip after a good win in New Orleans yesterday. Houston is missing several starters due to injury, but they're still one of the better teams in the NBA and they love to shoot from distance. Tonight's action tips off at 5:00 pm tonight on Comcast SportsNet California and on KHTK 1140.
3 THINGS TO LOOK FOR
1. The status on Kings starters Rudy Gay and Darren Collison is unknown, but Sacramento was able to pull out a good win without them yesterday in New Orleans. Houston on the other hand is suffering even more serious injuries, with Dwight Howard, Patrick Beverly and Terrence Jones all likely out for tonight. That means the Rockets have almost no depth with which to guard Cousins. Tarik Black and Donatas Motiejunas are the only players over 6'8 that the Rockets will have available. We could even see them having to throw 6'8 Joey Dorsey at Cousins. There's no reason that this shouldn't be a monster game for Cousins, and we should feed him down low as much as possible. It will open things up for everybody else as well.
2. Houston will likely play small tonight, which means we could see some interesting lineups. Still, I liked the move by Tyrone Corbin yesterday to play Jason Thompson at Center with the bench unit because it strengthens that unit's defense and rebounding. Carl Landry is simply not suited to play small ball center without other defensive players on the floor with him.
3. The Rockets love to shoot threes. They're only 14th in 3P% but they're first in total makes and attempts and are last in two point makes and attempts. The Kings will have to be wary to not leave shooters open, as the Rockets have them at every position. Sacramento has been very good so far this year at defending the three point line, with the 5th best opponent 3P% at just 31.1%, and they'll have to remain diligent in the face of the incoming barrage tonight.
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
James Harden vs. Ben McLemore
James Harden is the point of attack for Houston, especially with Dwight Howard out. His ability to shoot, penetrate and create for others is among the best in the NBA and this will be a tough task for Ben McLemore. On the other hand, Harden's defense leaves much to be desired, and an aggressive Ben should take advantage of that. Ben has improved so much this season, but I think the next step for him will be learning how to attack the basket and get to the line. Still, I'm not worrying as much about Ben's offense tonight as his defense; If he can keep Harden in check, this will be a much easier game for Sacramento.
Houston, we have a problem.
DeMarcus is causing bedlam.
Destroying the paint,
making the fans faint,
with some of them seeking asylum.
Kings 109, Rockets 83 as DeMarcus Cousins looks at the big men Houston has to throw at him and proceeds to go on a rampage.