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Kings vs. Rockets Preview: Sacramento looks to remain undefeated on TNT

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings can't seem to find a rhythm without DeMarcus Cousins, losing the other day to the Los Angeles Lakers despite holding the lead for most of the game.  Even against lesser opponents, the Kings haven't been able to figure out how to hold on to a lead and close a game out.  Tonight they'll have even more trouble as the 16-5 Houston Rockets come to town.  Tonight's action tips off at 7:30 pm on TNT and on KHTK 1140.

3 THINGS TO LOOK FOR

1.  The last time these two teams met, Rudy Gay and Darren Collison didn't play and the Rockets got off to a hot start thanks to a plethora of Kings turnovers and bad defense.  Turnovers have consistently been a problem for the Kings all season, as they average 16 a game.  Meanwhile the Rockets hardly ever turn the ball over at 11.3 a game, the best mark in the NBA.  The Kings don't have to be that protective of the ball, but they can't turn it over 21 times for 32 Houston points again if they hope to win.

2.  The Rockets are somehow even more injured than last time.  While they have Patrick Beverley back, they're still missing Dwight Howard and Terrence Jones, and have also lost Kostas Papanikolaou, Francisco Garcia and Isaiah Canaan (who killed the Kings in their last matchup) to injury.

3. Houston loves to shoot the three.  In fact, 42.2% of their total shot attempts are three pointers, which you might note is an insane number for the NBA.  They're first in both 3PM and 3PA for the year.  By comparison, the Kings only shoot 17.8% of their total shot attempts as threes, and are 30th in makes and 29th in attempts.  Now, Houston is only 16th in percentage, so the Kings will have to do their best to make sure Houston's shots are at least contested.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Donatas Motiejunas vs. Jason Thompson

Last time these two teams played, Motiejunas surprised us all by killing the Kings in the post with a bevy of moves, scoring a career-high 21 points.  He's been playing very well since joining the starting lineup in Dwight Howard's absence, averaging 15.1 points per game on 57.3% from the field over the last 9 games.  The Kings can expect someone like James Harden to have a big game regardless, but it's guys like Motiejunas that Sacramento needs to keep under control, and that will fall to Jason Thompson.

PREGAME LIMERICK

Another game on national TV,
but this time with no Boogie.
Gotta play hard,
avoid their bombard,
and win at home on TNT.

PREDICTION

Kings 99, Houston 98 after Darren Collison hits the game winner over James Harden and then pulls his beard, revealing it to be fake and Harden to actually be the alias of a pretty athletic Texas telemarketer named George Softout.