clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Kings vs Rockets Preview: Letting Loose in Houston

New, comments

If the Kings want a .500 record on their 8 game road trip, it will have to come in the final game against a deadly Houston Rockets squad.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

After another blown lead at the hands of the Sixers, the Kings are in Houston on Tuesday to take on James Harden and his merry gang of stat murderers. The Houston Rockets might have the Kings number more than any other in the league right now, and on the second night of a back to back, in which they scrambled all fourth quarter to win the game. This could get ugly, and fast. You think the Kings were winded last night? Just you wait. Let’s talk Kings basketball.

When: Tuesday, January 31st; 5:00 pm PST

Where: Toyota Center, CSN-CA, KHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

Kings Focus

After the Rockets nine game win streak was stopped on January 10th by the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Rockets are only 4-7 and are currently losers in three of their last four games. So, if you were planning on tuning out early, you might wanna jump in for the first quarter or two to see if the tired Kings can stay competitive. And how, might you ask, can the Kings stay competitive against the Rockets? Well...

Guard. The. Three. Point. Line. Monday night against the Sixers, the Kings were late to rotate and it killed them, not just from deep but allowed the Sixers to pump fake and blow by. Bob Covington had four threes, Nik “Rocks” Stauskas threw up another 4 threes, but how many times did you see the Sixers hesitate on the three point line, wait for the rotation to come their way and then blow by them for an easy mid-range? These Rockets won’t pass up the opportunity to swap a three for a two like the Sixers. They see a three and they take it. The team as a whole is averaging just fractions under FORTY three point attempts in the league. They hit them at a rate of 36.6%. If the Kings can find some semblance of a defense against a Rockets barrage from deep, then they have a chance. Otherwise, start looking for LOST re-runs on the SyFy network listing, because this will be over.

Another thing the Kings can do to win this game is take care of the ball and capitalize on turnovers. Houston is the third worst team in the league in turnovers, coughing up the ball almost 16 times per game. That’s a lot of extra possessions that the Kings can do something with if only they don’t give it right back to Houston. Taking care of the basketball and valuing each possession is something that the Kings are still learning. New offensive system and coaching style, sure. But we are edging towards 50 games played in the season, and with that comes the expectation that the men are starting to pulling together. Matt Barnes only excuse on the court right now is “he’s the only one that really knows the system”; about time we change that, right?

Really, that’s it. It’s been a surprising eight games for the Kings. Some surprisingly good, some surprisingly bad; but if you told me we had a chance of going .500 on this road trip without any trade coming our way, I wouldn’t have believed it. The Kings have been a couple of bad possessions swapped for good ones away from being 6-1 on the road trip, but I’m plenty surprised at three wins. The Kings are tired, and Monday night’s game showed that. This game was written off as a loss the day the NBA moved a game with Philly in front of it, so let’s see if the Kings can defy expectations one last time.

Prediction

Needing all the shooting he can get, Dave Joerger turns to Malachi Richardson early and he decides to give his best James Harden impression against some mediocre defense. He and Willie both thrive in the up-and-down game and cover for DeMarcus on a night where he’s dominating, when he’s not gasping for air. Richardson scores a career high, Boogie gets a triple double and the Kings stun the world (or maybe just Kings fans) and pull off a upset.

Kings: 119, Rockets:114