by Charlie O. Mallonee
The homestand ends on a down note
SACRAMENTO- –The Kings closed out a five-game homestand on Friday with a loss to the Houston Rockets 117-104. Looking at the final score you might assume that it was a boring, blowout of a game. You would be wrong.
The game started off very one-sided and then Sacramento realized what was happening. The Kings began to put forth a complete effort as a team and fought their way back into contention.
Late in the fourth quarter, the outcome of this game was really in doubt.
The hole the Kings dug early was just too deep
“Tough battle for tonight. We didn’t come out with enough force early. They’re a good team after a loss.Them coming off a loss – they were very focused … We (Kings) came in too slow,” said Sacramento head coach Dave Joerger after the game.
The Rockets grabbed the lead when Clint Capela sank a six-foot hook shot for the first score of the game. Houston would never trail in the game. In fact, the Rockets would build a 19-point lead after the first 12-minutes of play. When the first quarter was in the score book, Houston held a 38-19 lead over the Kings.
- Trevor Ariza scored 12 points in the period hitting four 3-point shots
- The Rockets made eight 3-point baskets in the quarter off 17 attempts
- Houston shot 52.0-percent (13-for-25) from the floor
- They outrebounded the Kings 18-6
- The only downside for the Rockets was the fact that James Harden shot 0-for-5 from the field in the quarter and was held to three points – all from the free throw line
The Kings could have easily backed off and mailed it in for the rest of the game. They did not take that option.
The Kings came to life in the second quarter
The Rockets (10-6) stayed hot in second quarter. They shot 55.6-percent 10-for-18) from the floor and 6-for-11 (54.5-percent) from beyond the 3-point line. As a team, Houston scored 30 points in the period.
Sacramento shot 61.1-percent (11-for-18) from the field and 2-for-6 (33.3-percent) from 3-point land. They also went 7-of-8 (87.5-percent) from the free throw line. The Kings outscored the Rockets 31-30 in the quarter.
The other amazing thing happening in the quarter was the return of Omri Casspi to the floor for the Kings. The Kings forward had become the forgotten man at the end of the bench. Casspi played the entire 12-minutes scoring 4 points, grabbing two rebounds and dishing out two assists. Casspi would have more to contribute later in the game.
“It (playing Casspi) gave us an ability to play similar size guys. It’s a quicker game where we wanted to make them pay. I thought we were very poor in the first seven-eight minutes of playing to the second side of the court – getting some movement, getting some cutting and I think that’s definitely his game. He’s done his work. He’s stayed healthy. I think it’s going to work out for him,” said Kings coach Dave Joerger.
At the half, the Rockets led the Kings 68-50.
The third quarter was not a thing of beauty
Both teams struggled coming out of halftime. The Rockets shot a horrible 33.3-percent (7-for-21) from the field and a very poor 27.3-percent (3-of-11) from beyond the 3-point arc. The one bright spot was forward Ryan Anderson came alive hitting two 3-point buckets and two free throws to be his team’s leading scorer in the quarter with eight points.
The Kings overall shooting percentage was better at 45.5-percent (10-for-22) but their 3-point production was a terrible 1-for-11 (11.1-percent). Sacramento did manage to outscore Houston 24-22 in the third. After three quarters, Houston led the game 90-74.
The biggest problem for the Kings in the third quarter was the fact DeMarcus Cousins picked up two personal fouls and was working with a total of four personals in the game. That meant he had to go to the bench and spend the last 5:21 of the period on “the pine”.
The fourth and deciding quarter was both exciting and painful
The Rockets quickly made it a 16 lead as the quarter began and things began to look very dim for the Kings especially with Cousins on the bench. However, Sacramento was able to cut the Rockets lead down to 10 points with 7:45 left in the game but Houston quickly built it back to a 13 point cushion.
With 7:19 remaining, DeMarcus Cousins and his four personal fouls reentered the game. The problem was Harden had suddenly come to life for Houston and they pushed the lead back up to 16 points.
Cousins tried to single-handedly take over the game and will the Kings back into contention. He hit four 3-points baskets over a two-minute period and cut the Houston lead to just eight points, but that was as close as the Kings would come to the lead.
Houston scored the final five points of the game and came away the victory 117-104 over the Kings (6-10).
Some NBA and career records were set in this game
- Houston set a NBA record for 3-point field goal attempts with 50 tries from behind the arc in the contest
- The Rockets connected on 21 of those 3-point attempts which was a season-high for them
- DeMarcus Cousins went 5-for-9 from 3-point range which set a career high for him for 3 point field goals made
Other important numbers you need to know
- DeMarcus Cousins was the leading scorer in the game with 32 points
- The Rockets James Harden recorded a triple-double: 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists
- Houston’s Trevor Ariza scored 18 points all coming from his six 3-point baskets
- El Dorado Hills product Ryan Anderson scored 13 points and dished out four assists before family and friends at the arena
- Matt Barnes and Ty Lawson each score 12 points for the Kings
- Garrett Temple scored 10 points for Sacramento coming off the bench and shooting a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor
- Omri Casspi scored seven points, had five assists and hauled in four rebounds in his 28-minutes playing time in a triumphal return to the rotation for the Kings
- The Kings had five players score in double-figures while the Rockets had seven players score in double-digits
- Sacramento finished its five-game homestand 2-3
- Houston kicked off its five-game road trip 1-0
One happy King despite the loss even though he would have liked to have won the game
“It was good,” said Omri Casspi.”Coaches kind kind of got me going and being involved in different plays. It felt great. I’ve missed being out there playing in front of the fans. Unfortunately, the result came up short but (it was) good to be out there.”
James Harden on breaking the 3-point field goal attempt record
“I didn’t know until just now. (We were) efficient though, right? 21-out-of-50,” asked Harden. “That’s pretty good – that’s pretty good.”
Local guy Ryan Anderson on the Kings new arena
“There has be a lot of news talking about this new arena coming into being,” said Anderson originally from El Dorado Hills. “Just to be here now is pretty awesome. Beautiful place.”
Coming up next
The Kings kick off a six-game road on Sunday in Brooklyn with the Nets. The game starts at 3:00 PST local time.
The Rockets continue their five-game road trip with game number two in Portland on Sunday night.