In what I’m sure comes as a shock to most of you, the Sacramento Kings, playing without their two leading scorers (one due to injury, one due to “planned rest”) were unable to keep up with the 18-7 (now 19-7) Houston Rockets who had already demolished them once this year. While the Rockets didn’t match their NBA record 50 3PAs that they had earlier in the season against the Kings, they still scorched the perimeter en route to a 22-42 effort from beyond the arc. Houston scored at least 30 points in every single quarter except the second, where they scored 28.
Garrett Temple led the way for the Kings, starting for the injured Ben McLemore. Temple scored 20 points on 7-13 shooting, including 5-9 from beyond the arc. The other Kings weren’t nearly as efficient offensively, as the team shot just 42.4% overall compared to a whopping 58.8% for the Houston Rockets. All five of Houston’s starters finished in double digit scoring, led by El Dorado Hills’ own Ryan Anderson, who scored 22 points on 8-12 from the field. Second year player Sam Dekker added 19 points and 7 rebounds off of Houston’s bench. James Harden had a relatively quiet scoring night with just 15 points, but did have a triple-double with 14 assists and 11 rebounds. The Rockets as a team had an amazing 40 assists. Sacramento had 27 themselves, which is pretty good, but they couldn’t get enough stops to make anything come of it.
There isn’t much else to say about this game. The Kings likely weren’t going to win it even if they had been fully healthy, and without their stars it was a joke of a contest that never really seemed close. Sacramento’s rookies at least got some action in the blowout loss, but they only came in during the 4th quarter and Georgios Papagiannis didn’t see any action at all. Malachi Richardson finished with 7 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists on 2-5 shooting in 12 minutes and Skal Labissiere scored 2 points in his six minutes of action. Given that the game was out of hand as early as the second quarter, I would have liked to see more minutes for the rookies as Sacramento clearly had no plans of their own to win the game as they voluntarily sat DeMarcus Cousins. Richardson, at least, might be worth a rotation spot even now given Sacramento’s Shooting Guard struggles.
The Kings will next face the red hot Memphis Grizzlies in Dave Joerger’s return to his first NBA head coaching venue on Friday. While the Grizzlies have lost Point Guard Mike Conley, they have won 7 of their last 8 games.
For the opponent’s perspective, visit The Dream Shake.