A major turning point in the loss came with 8:14 in the fourth when Rockets’ wing Garrison Matthews went up on a fast break and was fouled hard by De’Aaron Fox mid-air, causing him to take a major tumble. The refs reviewed the play and decided to give Fox a Flagrant Two, which by rule is an ejection.
It was a hard foul, but giving Fox the Flagrant Two distinction seemed a bit excessive for a non-malicious play.
Playing without their best player for the final portion of the game turned out to be too much to overcome for the Kings.
The nail was put in the Kings’ coffin when Eric Gordon broke down their defense and made a clutch layup with 12.5 seconds left in the game to put the game away.
Sacramento appeared to be sleepwalking through the early portion of this game, falling behind 13-0 in the opening minutes. The Kings eventually rallied back in the game, but falling behind like that to a team of the Rockets caliber is unacceptable for a Kings team with playoff aspirations.
Buddy Hield was the best offensive player for Sacramento on Sunday, finishing with 27 points and making five three-pointers in the game. Hield is starting to turn his season around a bit recently, after struggling for a few months straight.
Another King that impressed was Davion Mitchell, who finished with 16 points and 7 assists on Sunday.
Sunday was yet another disappointing loss for the Sacramento Kings, who now sit at 18-28, one game behind the Portland Trail Blazers for that all elusive 10th seed and spot in the play-in tournament.
The Kings will have a couple of days off before they lace it back up this Wednesday at home against the Detroit Pistons. After the Kings play Detroit, the schedule really starts to toughen up, so it will be crucial to secure that win.