The Sacramento Kings dropped a winnable game against the Houston Rockets Friday night, losing 116-110, despite the Rockets being without Dwight Howard. The starters came out listless, and immediately fell into a hole. Somehow, the bench unit brought Sacramento back, making it just a six point game after the first. By halftime the Rockets had extended the lead slightly, but the Kings were in the game. The starting unit returned for the start of the second half and almost immediately put the game beyond Sacramento's ability to recover.
George Karl needs to figure out his line-ups, and he needs to figure them out quickly. Karl continues to rely heavily on Kosta Koufos over Willie Cauley-Stein. I like Koufos, I really do, but Willie Trill is earning minutes. Good things happen when WCS is on the floor, but Karl doesn't trust him yet. This fits into Karl's MO, but it's frustrating even if it is something we should have expected.
Seth Curry was a delightful surprise in the third quarter. He came in off the bench, drained a three, and then drove to the rack for a layup on the next possession. I don't have this officially confirmed, but I don't believe he was given the ball again, despite remaining in the game for some time.
Rudy Gay was a problem. Rudy's shot wasn't falling, but it didn't stop him from freezing out his teammates, stalling ball movement, and forcing bad shots down the stretch. Rudy is obviously a huge part of this team, and the Kings need him to be good if they want to take a step forward, but Rudy needs to have some self awareness and learn to defer to his teammates when necessary.
James Harden led the Rockets with a season-high 43 points.
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