Rockets make it “rain” 3-pointers, crush the Kings 130-105 on Tuesday night

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Barnes tries to contain Harden Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

By Charlie O. Mallonee

SACRAMENTO —¬†The Sacramento Kings goal of finishing the season with a 41-41 record took a serious hit on Tuesday night when the Houston Rockets beat them 130-105 at the Golden 1 Center. The young, upstart Kings never held a lead in the game. The win gave Houston a four-game season-series sweep over Sacramento.

In his postgame comments, Kings head coach Dave Joerger noted that the Rockets have beat his team by over 20 points on average in all four games this season. He later would point out that the Rockets as a team are staffed with great players.

Why Did the Kings Lose?

Sacramento lost the game because they could not shut down the dynamic 3-point shooting of the Rockets. Houston literally made it “rain” 3-pointers at they attempted 61 shots from behind the arc and hit 26 of them. The 26 made 3-point shots tied the Rockets NBA record for most 3-point shots made in a game that they set against the Wizards back on December 19, 2018, at home in Houston.

The Rockets made 46 of their 94 field goal attempts (48.9%) in the contest. They converted 26 of their 61 3-point field goal attempts (42.6%). Yes, you are reading that correctly. The majority of the Rockets’ field goals made and attempts were from long range. Houston was very happy to trade 3-point baskets for Kings 2-point baskets all night long.

The Kings shot 44.2-percent overall (42/95) and went 7-for-23 (30.4%) from downtown.

Dave Joerger was not happy after the game

“We did not come with the mental or physical attitude of playing with some force and (weren’t) mentally locked in enough. We can’t play that way. We’re better than that. That’s disappointing if we had a hangover from a long trip – a bunch of games – young guys – but we cannot let go of the rope and we’re not going to.”

Top Performers

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Bagley and Capela prepare to battle for the rebound Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

Kings (38-40)

  • Buddy Hield was the Kings leading scorer with 20 points. He shot 8-for-16 and four of his field goals were 3-pointers. Hield also grabbed seven rebounds and added five assists.
  • Marvin Bagley III put 19 points up on the board to go with eight rebounds.
  • Nemanja Bjelica scored 12 points and went 6-for-7 from the floor.
  • Sacramento outrebounded Houston 51-43.

Rockets (50-28)

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Harden gets ready to score three of his 36 points Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee
  • James Harden was the leading scorer in the game with 36 points, and he made it a double-double by dishing out 10 assists. He went 12-for-19 shooting and seven of those buckets were 3-pointers.
  • Eric Gordon and Danuel House, Jr. each scored 19 points for the visiting Rockets.
  • Chris Paul scored seven points and distributed 12 dimes.
  • Kenneth Faried posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Up Next

The Kings return to action on Thursday night when they will host the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Rockets play the second game of a back-to-back on the road in Los Angeles versus the Clippers on Wednesday night.

Rockets soar past Warriors 127-105, evens West Finals 1-1

Photo credit: nba.com/warriors

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

The talk of a potential Warriors’ sweep can be put to rest.

After dropping Game 1 Monday night, the Rockets rebounded with a 127-105 victory over the Warriors in Game 2 at the Toyota Center Wednesday night.

James Harden finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds to help Houston regain home-court in the best-of-7 Western Conference Finals series.

“Guys were more active,” said Harden, who shot 9-of-24 from the floor and just 3-of-15 from 3, postgame to TNT. “We played harder and it showed tonight.”

Eric Gordon, who scored just 15 points in Game 1, exploded with 27 points in Game 2, matching Harden’s output. Gordon shot 8-of-15 from the field, including 6-of-9 on 3s.

The play of P.J. Tucker was big for Houston, scoring a playoff career-high 22 points on 8-of-9 shooting. Tucker was red-hot from 3, knocking down 5-of-6 from behind the arc, bouncing back from a poor Game 1 performance of one point on 0-of-3 from the field.

Trevor Ariza finished with 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting and six assists, and Clint Capela finished with five points and 10 rebounds.

Chris Paul scored 16 points and had six assists, after recording just three in Game 1. Paul shot just 6-of-14 from the floor, appeared to be bothered by a lower leg injury in the second half as he ran with a noticeable limp. Paul did sit out most of the fourth quarter when the game was in hand for Houston.

The Rockets dominated Golden State in the second quarter, outscoring the Warriors 38-29.

“We can beat anybody, anywhere at any time playing the way we play,” Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said.

Sloppy play, lackluster defense and the lack of another scoring option other than Kevin Durant were the main culprits in the loss for Golden State.

As a team, Houston was scorching from three-point land, knocking down 16-of-42 (38.1-percent). Golden State’s perimeter defense against the Rockets was nonexistent in Game 2 from the beginning, allowing the Rockets to drill 10-of-23 3s in the first half. Houston shot 51.4-percent for the game (45-of-88) and out-rebounded Golden State 47-36.

Houston led as much as 19 in the first half and was up 64-50 at halftime. The Warriors did climb back into the game, closing the gap 74-64 behind five points by Durant before Houston increased their lead to 89-72 behind an off-balanced layup by Gordon crashing to the floor, drawing a foul and making a free throw.

Durant finished with a game-high 38 points on 13-of-22 shooting from the floor, but was a one-man band Wednesday night at the Toyota Center for Golden State.

“We’re not the juggernauts of the NBA,” Durant said. “We’re a good team, but that’s a great team on the other end.”

Stephen Curry had another quiet game, scoring 16 points on 7-of-19 shooting from the field, but couldn’t get anything going from three-point range, connecting on 1-of-8 on his 3s. By hitting just one 3, Curry extended his NBA playoff record to 81 games.

In the first two games of the series, Curry is shooting just 2-of-13 on 3s.

Klay Thompson, who had his way with Houston in Game 1 scoring 28 points, was held in check finishing with just eight points on 3-of-11 shooting (2-of-4 on 3s).

Draymond Green finished with just six points, six rebounds and six assists.

“I think a lot of these games when you get in the playoffs with teams that are very talented and really great team, it often comes down to which one has the edge in terms of the aggression and the desperation,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told reporters after the game. “They were desperate tonight, and they played like it. And we didn’t. And the results showed. We got what we deserved. They kicked our butts.”

The Warriors committed 15 turnovers, off of which Houston scored 15 points. Houston 13 points off 11 first-half turnover by Golden State, which in essence, had the Warriors climbing uphill for the entirety of the game.

Golden State shot 45.9-percent for the game (39-of-85) and were ice-cold on 3s, shooting 9-of-30 (30-percent).

But if you’re the Warriors, you’ve accomplished your mission of splitting the first two games in Houston. With the scene shifting to Oakland for Games 3 and 4, Golden State should feel good about where the series stands right now.

Game 3 is Sunday at Oracle Arena with tipoff scheduled for 5 p.m. Pacific.

Following Game 3, the two teams will play Game 4 on Tuesday, before returning to Houston for Game 5 on Thursday.

Kings fight to the final buzzer but come up short as Rockets win 105-100

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Cauley-Stein puts in a dunk to cut the Rockets lead to three points with seven seconds to go in the game

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Kings open the 2017-18 regular season with loss to the powerful Houston Rockets

The Sacramento Kings kicked off their new season before a sellout crowd of 17,583 at the Golden 1 Center on Wednesday night. Their opponent was the very powerful and talented Houston Rockets who started their season on Tuesday night with a last second win over the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors in Oakland.

The Kings hoped to take advantage of catching the Rockets on the second game of a back-to-back set on the road. They also received some good news when they learned that Chris Paul would not play due to ongoing problems with a knee contusion.

Sacramento (0-1) kept the game close through all four quarters. They even won the third quarter 24-23. The lead changed eight times in the game and the contest was tied four times. Houston’s largest lead was 11 points while the Kings biggest lead was six.

James Harden struggled through the first three quarters of the game appearing to be tired from effort that expended versus the Warriors on Tuesday night. Unfortunately for the Kings, Harden caught a second wind in the final period and scored 12 of his game-high 27 points over those last 12 minutes. That performance really made the difference for the Rockets (2-0).

Despite being down by 11 points with 5:13 remaining in the game the Kings did not give up and cut the Houston lead to just three points with 26-seconds to go in the contest. It was at that point this game took a left turn that the Kings would never recover from.

The Kings George Hill sank two free throws to make it a 98-95 game with Houston in the lead with 26-seconds remaining. On the inbounds play, Hill appeared to disrupt the possession by Eric Gordon who lost control allowing the ball to go out-of-bounds. The big crowd went wild but settled as a video replay was ordered.

What the crowd, the Kings bench and the majority of the media did not understand was the replay was not to determine if Gordon was the last player to touch the ball before it went out-of-bounds. The replay was to confirm a foul call that made on Hill by the referee on the far-side of the court. The replay center in Secaucus upheld the foul call and Gordon was sent to the charity stripe to shoot two shots.

Gordon hit both shots to give Houston a five-point lead with 26-seconds to play essentially sealing the win for the Rockets. The Kings gave it their best effort but came up short.

Kings head coach Dave Joerger addresses the call in a very subdued manner in part two of his video comments.

Dave Joerger was very proud of the effort his team gave against the talented Rockets

  • Sacramento shot 42-for-88 (47.7%) from the floor
  • The Kings shot 8-for-23 (34.8%) from 3-point land
  • The team went just 8-for-10 from the free throw line vs. 27-for-29 for the Rockets

Joerger was not happy about the foul call that was upheld by the video replay center

  • De’Aaron Fox 14 points (7-for-15 shooting), five assists, four rebounds, 23-minutes of playing time
  • Buddy Hield 19 points (8-for-17 shooting including three 3’s), five rebounds, four assists, one steal

Coach Joerger was pleased with the play of Willie Cauley-Stein

  • Cauley-Stein with the double-double: 21 points (game-high for SAC), 10-for-15 shooting, 10 rebounds (four offensive), three blocked shots

This was a Tier One vs a Tier Three game

  • Kings played without Zach Randolph who was sidelined by oral surgery
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic did not play because of a sprained right ankle

The Kentucky connection was very important to the Kings on Wednesday 

  • Skal Labissiere 12 points, 10 rebounds to post a double-double
  • Cauley-Stein, Labissiere and Fox = 47 points, 24 rebounds, seven assists

Up next for the Kings and Rockets

  • Sacramento heads out on the road and will face the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night
  • The Rockets will have their home opener on Saturday night when they host the Dallas Mavericks

The Houston Rockets subdue the Dubs in double overtime 132-127

AP photo:Montezl Harrell of the Houston Rockets (right) loses the ball as Kevin Durant (left) of the Golden State Warriors defends in the first half as the Warriors drop an double overtime performance to the Houston Rockets at Oracle Arena on Wednesday night

by Jerry Feitelberg

Oakland-The Houston Rockets snapped the Golden State Warriors twelve-game winning streak Thursday night at Oracle Arena in double overtime by a score of 132-27. The game was fiecely contested by both teams all  night. Neither team would give an inch. The Rockets had seven players finish the night in double figures. The Dubs had five. There were five technical fouls called in the game. Draymond Green played his heart out, but he was called for a flagrant foul one in the second overtime period that, unfortunately, turned out to be the key play that doomed the Dubs. Green was going up for a layup when he was fouled by James Harden. As Draymond was going down backward to the floor, his right leg came up and hit Harden in the face. To many, it appeared to be inadvertent, but after a long review, the refs charged him with the foul.Draymond was awarded two free throws, and he made one. Harden made both, and the Rockets retained possession. The Rockets went up by four 128-124. They increased the lead to six, and that was the ballgame.

The game went back and forth all night. The Rockets biggest lead of the night came in the first period when they had a 13-4 lead. The game was tied at four when the Rockets went on a 9-0 run. The Dubs came back and tied the game at twenty. The Dubst hen took the lead by four 24-20, but it didn’t last long. The Rockets tied ¬†it at twenty-five Houston then went ahead and finished the first quarter with a 32-30 lead.

The Dubs tied it at 32 on a Kevin Durant bucket. Houston regained the lead, but the Dubs came back and led by three 46-43. The Rockets continued to match the Dubs offensively and regained the lead 51-48. They finished the first half with a five -point lead 64-59.  James Harden, Ryan Anderson, and Eric Gordon led the Rockets attack. Durant with nineteen, Draymond Green had ten points, six assists, and six rebounds. Andre Iguodala added nine. Steph Curry, saddled, with three fouls, had just five points in eleven plus minutes in  the first half. Klay Thompson did not have a good shooting night, and he finished the first twenty-four minutes with seven points. The Rockets scored ten second-chance points while Golden State had zero. That was the most telling stat of the first half.

The Rockets continued to answer every Warrior challenge in the third quarter. Steph got it going as he made a couple of clutch three-point shots. Houston refused to bend. The Dubs outscored the Rockets by just one point and trailed by four 86-82 after three. The Dubs closed the gap to one 86-85 when KD hit a three to start the quarter. The Rockets increased the lead to seven 97-90.The Dubs started a comeback. They tied Houston at 97 behind two key buckets by Draymond.  Neither team could get separation from the other. They tied the score four times before the buzzer ended the game tied at 113 in regulation.

Steph Curry scored the Warriors’first six points of the first overtime session. He made a reverse layup and was fouled on the play. He made the free throw. Houston came back with a 2-point bucket to make it 116-115. Steph hit a three. Harden countered with a three of his own to trail 119-118. KD responded to put the Dubs up by three. The Rockets scored the next five points to take the lead 123-121. The Dubs tied it again. The Rockets had the ball for the last twenty-five second but the Dubs defense held and the Rockets committed a 24-second violation and the first OT period ended with the score tied.

Steph Curry, saddled with five personal fouls, committed an offensive foul and had to leave the game early in the second OT. Harden made a three to put the Rockets up 126-123. It was at this point that Harden fouled Draymond as he was going in for a layup. Both players were called for a foul. Green made one but Harden made his two and Houston had pssossion of the ball. That was the game. The Dubs could not catch up and they lost by five 132-127.

Game notes- With the loss, the Dubs fall to 16-3 while Houston improves to 12-7. James Harden had his fourth triple-double of the season as he had 29 points, 13 assists, and 14 rebounds. Ryan Anderson had 29 and Eric Gordon added 23, coming off the bench. Four other rockets were in double figures.  Kevin Durant had a double-double with 39 points and 13 boards. Draymond also had a double-double. He scored 20, had nine assists and 15 rebounds. Curry scored 28, Iguodala ten and Klay fifteen.There were 12ties in the game. The Rockets won the offensive rebound battle as they scored twenty-eigh second chance points.

The Warriors hope to get back on the winning track Saturday night againstthe Phoenix Suns. It won’t be easy as the Suns seem to match up well agains the Warriors and have played the Dubs hard in the two meeting so far this year. The game will be at the Oracle arena at 7:30 pm.

 

Kings host the Rockets in the final game of the homestand

by Charlie O. Mallonee

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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

Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets - Game Seven
James Harden NBA.com
  • 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

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Ryan Anderson NBA.com
  • 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

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings
Cousins celebrates versus Thunder (Rocky Widner/NBAE)
  • 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

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Barclay Center home of the Nets NBA.com

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.