by Charlie O. Mallonee
The Kings wrap up their five-game homestand on Friday night when they host the Houston Rockets. The Rockets are 9-6 on the season and are in fifth place in the Western Conference.
The Rockets continue being road warriors tonight
- Tonight’s game kicks off a five-game road trip for Houston
- By the end of this trip the Rockets will have played 14 of their 20 games on the road
- Houston is 5-4 on the road to date; they were 18-23 on the road last season
- Toronto stopped the Rockets three-game winning streak on Wednesday night with a 115-102 win in Houston
- WARNING: the Rockets are 5-0 in the first game following a loss this season
It’s still James Harden’s world
- Harden is averaging 28.7 points, 12.5 assists, and 7.7 rebounds per game
- He has scored or assisted on 53.7-percent of the Rockets field goals this year
- Harden has 12 double-doubles (points/assists) so far this season
- He has recorded 15+ assists five times this season
New additions since last year
- First, there is the a new head coach in Mike D’Antoni. This is his fifth head coaching job in the NBA. He has been the head man at Denver, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles Lakers and now Houston
- Local product Ryan Anderson formerly of New Orleans – the 3-point bomber who loves to take on the Kings – is now a member of the Rockets. He is averaging 12.3 points per game and shooting 38.4-percent from 3-point range
- Houston also signed Eric Gordon as a sixth man away from New Orleans. He is averaging 15.4 points per game off the bench for the Rockets
Kings – the final game of the homestand
- Sacramento is 2-2 on this homestand. A win tonight would give them a winning record on this home tilt
- This is the first of four meetings between the Kings and Rockets this season
- The Rockets won 3-of-4 games last season
- The Kings are looking to build on their wins over Toronto and Oklahoma City
- This will be another test for the new “small ball” line up that has been put in place by head coach Dave Joerger
For Sacramento it’s still about Boogie
- As Cousins goes so goes the Kings. The big man scored 36 points and grabbed 13 rebounds against OKC. They will need big numbers from him again tonight
- Rudy Gay is always important to the Kings success on the court. He put up 17 points versus the Thunder just below his season average of 20.2 ppg. With a scoring machine like Ryan Anderson at forward for the opposition, Gay’s production will be key
- Point guard Darren Collison exploded on offense in his first start of the season. He scored 21 points and dished out six assists in the Wednesday game
- Sacramento also received good support from the bench on Wednesday night. Ty Lawson, Kosta Koufos, Ben McLemore and Garrett Temple all played productive minutes in the game
- Coach Joerger went with a short bench against OKC. He used just nine players in that contest. Will that be the case again tonight?
The trade rumors just will not go away
More trade rumors were flying around on the internet today claiming that DeMarcus Cousins is about to be traded soon. The rumors have indicated that a trade would happen in early December to as late as February 2017.
The good news for Kings fans is their star player seems to be immune to the trade talk at this point is career. He has been the subject of trade rumors so often Cousins might only be concerned if he was left out of the rumor mill.
The concern is affect the trade talk might have on his teammates. It does not take much to distract a team and take them off their focus of trying play winning basketball. They need to follow the lead of their star player and focus on the game and not the talk off the court.
Back on the road again
The Kings will head back out on the road for six games in 12 days with all but one game to be played in the Eastern time zone. It is a long trip but the good news is there is only one back-to-back set of games on the trip.
The trip opens on Sunday night in Brooklyn with the Nets. The Kings will then get the back-to-back out of the way early as they play the Wizards in D.C. on Monday night. They will also visit Philadelphia, Boston, Manhattan, and Dallas before returning home on December 9th to host the Knicks.
For entertainment purposes only
The good folks at FiveThirtyEight.com have the Rockets as the favorites in the game minus 0.5 points. They give the Rockets a 52-percent chance to win the game.
The FiveThirtyEight CARMELO system projects the Rockets to have an 85-percent chance of making the playoffs but just a one-percent chance of winning the NBA Championship.
The fine folks in Nevada say the Rockets are the favorites minus 3.0 to 3.5 points. They believe the over/under will be 215 to 216 points.