NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, December 31st (All times Eastern)
Sacramento Kings (9-20) at Houston Rockets (21-12), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Rockets will try to get back into the win column on Tuesday night when they welcome the Sacramento Kings to the Toyota Center.
The Rockets lost in Oklahoma City to the Thunder, 117-86 on Sunday night. That was their fourth game in five nights and Houston paid with its most lopsided setback of the season.
"We didn't play really well the whole night," acknowledged Rockets coach Kevin McHale. "We went east and west with the ball and only had eight assists all night long. There were open guys and we didn't hit them early. We couldn't find a line-up that worked."
The starting one sure didn't. The Rockets opened the game 0-for-12 from the field and Oklahoma City raced out to a 13-0 lead. Houston only scored a season-low 14 points over the first 12 minutes.
Aaron Brooks led the way with 17 points off the bench. Chandler Parsons and Omri Casspi both had 15, but the rest of the Rockets struggled. Dwight Howard, James Harden and Jeremy Lin combined for 23 points.
Tuesday's tilt will complete a stretch of eight games in 11 nights. The Rockets don't play again until Jan. 3, when they host the New York Knicks.
The Kings have alternated wins and losses over the last four and one of those victories was a 108-103 home overtime win versus the two-time defending champion Miami Heat on Friday night.
On Sunday, the Kings went into San Antonio and gave the Spurs everything they could handle en route to a 112-104 loss to the reigning Western Conference champs.
Sacramento erased an eight-point halftime deficit with a 38-24 third-quarter explosion. The Spurs thrashed the Kings, 31-17 over the final 12 minutes to get the victory.
"It was a tough loss," said Kings coach Michael Malone. "We did some great things tonight. I'm very proud of how we played tonight even though it was a disappointing road loss."
DeMarcus Cousins finished with game-highs of 29 points and 14 rebounds, while Isaiah Thomas had 27 points to go along with nine assists and Rudy Gay netted 24 in the loss.
No other Kings player scored in double figures, but Jason Thompson pulled down 11 rebounds.
The Kings beat the Rockets, 106-91 in Sacramento on Dec. 15, but the Rockets have taken nine of the last 12 encounters. The Kings are just 2-10 in their last 12 in Houston.
12/31 10:18:17 ET