The Houston Rockets are a better basketball better team than the Sacramento Kings — that much we know. But after the Kings were eliminated from playoff contention in the middle of their game against the Rockets on Sunday, the hope was that they’d show a little fight and end their day with a moral victory.
They did not.
For the second time this season, the Kings lost to the Rockets, but unlike their previous matchups, Sunday’s game wasn’t close. Behind 41 points from Austin Rivers, the Rockets beat the Kings 129-112. At one point in the game they led by as much as 24 points. With a win on Sunday, the Rockets won their regular season series against the Kings 2-1.
Not that it should come as a surprise, but the Rockets took and made more 3-pointers than the Kings. They also made their 3-pointers at a higher rate despite 20 attempts separating them and the Kings.
De’Aaron Fox led Sacramento with 26 points on 9-17 shooting from the field, including 1-6 shooting from behind the arc. He also added 9 assists. While it’s ultimately up to Fox and the coaching staff, he probably shouldn’t play meaningful minutes for the rest of the season. The Kings know that they have in Fox, and it’s in their best interest to protect their most promising asset.
If Fox does play less in the final two games, DaQuan Jeffries should continue to get an extended look. Jeffries scored a career-high 13 points on 5-8 shooting from the field on Sunday. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to activate Kyle Guy.
The Kings have two games left on their seeding schedule: a game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday and a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. The former would have had playoff implications if both teams didn’t severely underwhelm in the bubble, but alas, they did. The good news is that it’s almost over.