Game 52 Preview: Sacramento Kings at Houston Rockets
Gametime: 6:00 pm PT
Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA.
Broadcast Information: TV – Comcast SportsNet California, Radio – CBS Sports 1140
For Rockets perspective, visit fellow TrueHoop Network affiliate Red 94.
The book on the Rockets: With the addition of James Harden, Houston is in the playoff mix in the west. They’ve started the month of February with a healthy 3-1 record. One of those wins came against the Golden State Warriors, who allowed Houston to tie an NBA record 23-made three-pointers. The Rockets play an uptempo game and are one of the best teams in the league on the break.
Did you know? In their last meeting last season, former King Hassan Whiteside recorded a career-high 10 rebounds off the bench against Houston. Ironically, Whiteside is now playing for the Rio Grande Vipers, the Rockets’ D-League team.
Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (18-33)
Houston Rockets Probable Starters (28-24)
- Points Per Game: 96.3
- Offensive Rating: 100.3
- Opponents Points Per Game: 102.3
- Defensive Rating: 108.1
- Pace: 94.96
- Points Per Game: 106
- Offensive Rating: 106.5
- Opponents Points Per Game: 97.4
- Defensive Rating: 104
- Pace: 98.62
Three questions to ponder
1. Will the Kings have an answer for James Harden?
The Rockets finally have a franchise player to build around in James Harden. Since coming to Houston from Oklahoma City, Harden has met and exceeded every expectation as the cornerstone building block for the Rockets. In 51 games, the fourth-year guard is averaging 26 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists per contest. Tyreke Evans will get the defensive call on his fellow 2009 draft-mate. Can the Kings shooting guard slow down his on-court counterpart?
2. Will Omer Asik be a defensive nuisance to DeMarcus Cousins?
The Rockets center is one of the better defensive big men in the league. Averaging 11.5 rebounds per game, Asik is among the top 10 players in the league in rebounding this season. When the opposition has gotten physical, Cousins has shied away from bruising down low in the box. If Asik can bully and rattle the Kings center on defense, it could be another long and ineffective night for Cousins.
3. Who wins the point guard battle between Isaiah Thomas and Jeremy Lin?
In a way, their careers have mirrored each other. Jeremy Lin rose from relative obscurity last year to become an NBA sensation. Isaiah Thomas rose from draft irrelevance last year to become the Kings’ starting point guard. Averaging just 12.6 points, 6.1 assists and three turnovers per game, Linsanity hasn’t duplicated itself in Houston. Playing alongside Harden in the backcourt, he doesn’t have the ball in his hands as much compared to last year. Thomas, meanwhile, has had ups and downs this season himself, coming in and out of the starting lineup over the Kings’ first 51 games. The game may not be decided by these two players, but it’ll still be an intriguing battle to watch.
Statistical support provided by NBA.com.