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Kings vs. Rockets Preview: Harden + Threes + Free Throws = Tons of Problems for Sacramento

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Sacramento's visit to Mexico left a sour taste in everybody's mouth as the Kings showed up with zero energy and were routed by the Celtics.  Now they have a tough back-to-back starting tonight in Houston, a team that has traditionally given the Kings a ton of trouble.  It could be a rough weekend for Kings fans. Today's action tips off at 5:00 pm on CSN California and on KHTK 1140.

3 Questions

1. Can the Kings survive the James Harden onslaught?  Ok, look.  I can't remember the last time the Kings slowed down James Harden.  Apparently it was November of last year when he scored only 26 on 10 of 31 shooting, and that was during the stretch when the Kings were actually playing defense under Michael Malone.  Now, the Kings defense is as bad as ever, and Harden has scored at least 40+ points in four of the last five matchups against the Kings.  It's fair to assume he's going to have his way with Sacramento yet again, so hopefully the Kings don't let anyone else get hot.

2. Can the Kings survive the three point onslaught?  Fact: the Kings allow the most three point attempts and 2nd most three point makes in the league.  Fact: Houston shoots the 2nd most three three point attempts and makes the 4th most three pointers in the league.  If Houston gets hot from three early, the Kings are toast.

3. Can the Kings survive the free throw onslaught? Thanks to James Harden, the Rockets get to the line a ton, with the 2nd most attempts and makes in the league.  Sacramento's pretty good at this themselves, so hopefully they won't be at too big of a disadvantage here.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

DeMarcus Cousins vs. Dwight Howard

The Kings didn't have DeMarcus Cousins the last time these two teams met but Cousins still isn't at full health.  Still, he's had big games against Dwight Howard in the past and his presence is going to provide the Kings with an option that they sorely missed in their last matchup.  While Houston was able to go to James Harden down the stretch for reliable points, the Kings were missing that guy.  Hopefully Cousins can take care of business against Dwight and give the Kings an option down low to counter Harden.

PREDICTION

Rockets 118, Kings 105