After finally snapping their cold streak in a chippy game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night, the Kings have traveled to Houston is search of a win against the high octane Rockets offense. Currently tied for the third best record in the Western Conference, the Rockets are coming off of a win on Monday night against the Brooklen Nets. In their first match-up earlier this season, the Rockets managed to drop 117 points on the Kings, with the Kings allowing seven players to score in double figures as well as allowing the Rockets to take an NBA record fifty three pointers. What? What did you say? Fifteen? No, FIFTY.
Let’s talk Kings basketball.
When: Wednesday, December 14th; 5:00pm PST
Where: Toyota Center, CSN-CA, KHTK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration
Kings Focus: You saw where earlier in the preview I said the Rockets attempted an NBA record fifty three-pointers? Alright, cool, because that’s where the Kings focus should be, first and foremost. Emphasis on guarding the three point line should be ingrained in the heads of Sacramento’s players and fans at this point, but if it isn’t, go back and watch the Rockets first quarter against the Kings where Sacramento allowed 17 three point attempts in the first quarter alone, en route to the Rockets scoring 38 points in the first frame, to the Kings paltry 19 points. Here’s what can get frustrating about this Kings squad to start the season: the Kings outscored the Rockets in each of the next three quarters. If the Kings came out focused on the task at hand, and guarded against the Rockets one obvious objective, then Sacramento is in a great position to win that game.
On the offensive side of things, the Kings need to take advantage of their opponent’s turnovers. The Kings have found themselves rewarded with extra possessions of late, and that good (or fortuitous) defense has kept the Kings in games that were slowly getting out of hand. The Rocket’s are bottom five in the league in turnovers, and will allow the Kings to go on a run with stretches of really bad defense. Here’s hoping that when the opportunity arises, Sacramento can be in a position to take their chances of winning from good to better, and not bad to possible. This might be a bit harder to do now that Rudy Gay is listed as doubtful for the game, and it will be on the Kings bench, particularly Omri Casspi to step up in his absence.
The Kings have had some time to digest just how terribly the first quarter against the Rockets went last time around, and so coming out with defensive intensity, especially when guarding the three point line, is a must. Taking care of the ball, and capitalizing on Houstons mistakes will put the Kings in a position to win, but down the stretch the Kings will have to find a way to do a better job of executing. Time and time again, we’ve seen the Kings make a furious comeback only to give it away in the final few minutes due to stagnant offense, and at times, bad rebounding. If the game gets close at the end, the Kings have a habit of breaking down offensively, and they just don’t have the defensive prowess to know they can lock a team down on four or five straight possessions to end the game. Here’s to hoping they can reach that level in the next few years, but for tonight, just be smart and find a way to make shots in the final few minutes.
Walking in a Wiltjer Wonderland: There’s this power forward on the Rockets out of Gonzaga and his name is Kyle Wiltjer, and why no one in the Rocket’s media has picked up that his last name is like drunk slurring the word “winter” is beyond me. Alternate titles for this useless section are:
- Nuclear Wiltjer
- A Hazy Shade of Wiltjer
- If on a Wiltjer’s Night a Traveler.
I wish I had more to say about the guy than just “his name amuses me”. I saw him play in summer league this year and he has a surprisingly quick release and great size for his skill set, but he runs up and down the court like the only Transformer to miss class the day Optimus Prime handed out the jet and sports car disguises, and ended up having to settle for the HMS Bounty.
Prediction: Deciding to fight fire with fire, Dave Joerger declares that the Kings are to only take three pointers this game. Boogies eyes get so wide, he sprains an eyelid. Kosta Koufos, sinks into his locker room chair. Garrett Temple says something well thought out and reasonable about the subject. Somewhere, Vivek Ranadive hears the news that Dave Joerger has finally broken, and he cracks a smile. A Charlie Parker record spins in the background.
Kings: 119, Rockets: 115