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Kings 91, Rockets 100: Houston’s Backcourt is a Problem

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An ugly second quarter proved to be too much for a comeback.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Houston Rockets Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

A game that became interesting late in the fourth quarter was basically sealed after the Sacramento Kings had an ugly second quarter on both sides of the ball.

The first quarter went pretty well for the Kings. Thanks to a fast start for Justin Jackson, the Kings went on to an early 25-20 lead heading into the second quarter.

In that second quarter, however, Chris Paul happened. He scored 15 of his 19 total points in that quarter run, where the Houston Rockets would outscore the Kings 35-20. The Kings would go into the second half down by ten, with a score of 55-45.

The third quarter wasn’t the most entertaining for offensive fans because both teams didn’t score very much. A positive takeaway from the quarter was that Sacramento only allowed the fiery offense of Houston to only 17 points.

The fourth quarter was more of the Kings attempting to make a late comeback, but for every attack the Kings made, Houston would answer with a big play of their own. If the Kings had done a better job in the second quarter, they would’ve had a closer shot at arguably the best team in the NBA. Even though I know the tank fans wouldn’t be happy about a win, I wouldn’t have minded seeing the Kings come with the underdog win.

Best Performers

Bogdan Bogdanovic: Yes, yes, yes! Rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic led the Kings in scoring with 20 points on 8/15 shooting (including three three’s). Bogdanovic also displayed his marvelous passing abilities with his five assists and he also grabbed four rebounds with two steals. He’s definitely rising after that slump he suffered a few weeks ago. Bogi also played a good defensive game against one of the best backcourts in the game. It was an all-around performance for an all-around player. #RisingStar

Justin Jackson: He’s now becoming a familiar name in this section and it has been well-deserved for a player who has continued to improve after every game. Guess who played the most minutes? Jackson played 34 minutes, leading the team. He had a fast start in the first where he drilled his only two three pointers of the game. He would finish with 12 points, four assists, five rebounds and two blocks.

Garrett Temple: Garrett Temple led the bench in scoring with his 13 points and also added four rebounds and seven assists. He shot 6/12 overall in 30 minutes.

Notable Performers

JaKaar Sampson got a start today, something I didn’t expect but he played well. In his 24 minutes, he scored seven points and had seven rebounds. He went a perfect three for three from the field along with a block and a steal. His putback dunk in the first quarter is my #JaKaarPlayOfTheDay

Buddy Hield struggled with shooting today (5/14 overall, 2/9 from three) but scored 12 points off the bench in 22 minutes.

Willie Cauley-Stein: Early in this game, it was definitely a horrible start for Willie Cauley-Stein. He brought the trill for alley-oops today but again, he wasn’t a dog. He would finish the game a little better, with 12 points, five assists, eight rebounds, one steal and one block in 28 minutes. He shot 6/16 from the field.

Notable Stats

Sacramento actually shot better than the Rockets, as their 43% topped Houston’s 40% but the amount of three ball’s made by Houston made a huge difference. Houston was 14/49 from three, while the Kings were 10/32. 49 shots for three is insane but you knew it was coming.

Another huge problem for the Kings is their inability to get to the free throw line. Houston actually made more free throws than the Kings attempted. The Rockets converted 20/22 free throws, compared to Sacramento’s 5/8. James Harden alone had more attempts than the Kings but no surprise there.

Both teams had 48 rebounds and five blocks but the Kings out-assisted the Rockets 26-19. Sacramento had 17 turnovers, ten of them being steals for Houston. Houston committed 13 turnovers, with eight of them being steals the other way. And as the free throws indicate, the Kings drew 14 fouls compared to Houston’s 20.

For Houston, Harden had a near triple-double, having 28 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Paul had 19 and Clint Capela had a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Every Houston starter scored in the double-digits.

Quick Takeaways

De’Aaron Fox would leave the game right at the end of the fourth with a head cut and a chin cut (he is receiving stitches). A possible concussion looms as well as Fox’s status for the Rising Stars game. He added nine points, three assists and two rebounds.

Longtime former Sacramento King Joe Johnson led Houston in scoring off the bench with nine. He didn’t shoot the ball well (2/9, 1/5 from three) in his 31 minutes played.

The Kings concluded their three game road trip with a 1-2 record as they enter the all-star break.

Next Game

The Sacramento Kings return home next Thursday (2/22) to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder at 7:00 PM PST.

Enjoy our young Kings representing at the all-star break!