Rockets work from downtown to beat the Kings 132-112 on Saturday night

Hou score

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings faced a Herculean task on Saturday night. First, they had to go for a win in the second game of a back-to-back set on the road for which the odds are against the road team. Second, the team they would have to defeat would be the Houston Rockets–one of the most talented “Tier One” teams in “the Association.”

This would also be the Kings’ fourth back-to-back set of games this season, which is just 16 games old for Sacramento. For a league that wanted to reduce the number of back-to-back games, the NBA seems to be doing a poor job of it when it comes to the Kings.

After losing to the Grizzlies on Friday night, the Kings came up short in Houston losing to the Rockets 132-112. The Rockets have won seven of their last nine games and have now won four games in a row. Simply put, the Rockets are on fire!

The Rockets’ plan was to slow the Kings down

Hou starters

Everyone in the NBA now knows the Kings’ plan is to run their opponent out of the building. The defense that appears to be the most effective against that plan is to slow down the Kings pace of play and force them into a half-court game. Sacramento appears to be unable to adjust when having to play at a slower pace.

The Kings shot 45.1-percent (46/102) overall for the contest. They hit on just 11-of-35 (31.4%) 3-point attempts. Even more important, SAC only had 12 attempts from the free throw line and converted just seven of those shots. Having just 12 free throw opportunities indicates that the Kings were not attacking the bucket.

Sacramento had just 14 fast break points in the game while the Rockets posted 17. When the opponent has more fast break points, the Kings are in serious trouble which they were on Saturday night.

The Rockets played their game to perfection

Hou Capela = 88

Kings radio broadcaster Gary Gerould described the Houston game as “pick and roll, isolation and deep 3-point shots.” The Rockets did all three of those things to perfection on Saturday night.

The Rockets shot 56.8-percent (46/81) for the game. They converted 20-of-47 (42.6%) of their 3-point shots. Houston hit 20-of-24 (83.3%) of their free throw attempts. Chris Paul tied his career-high with six 3-point baskets made in the game.

Houston dictated the action by playing the game according to their game plan while forcing the Kings to play a style other than their uptempo–run them out of the arena plan.

Key Kings Numbers

  • Buddy Hield leading scorer with 23 points, shooting 10-for-17
  • De’Aaron Fox posted 19 points, going 2-for-4 from downtown
  • Marvin Bagley III played 27-plus minutes and put 16 points in the book
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 14 points and had 5 assists in just 20 minutes
  • Every King in uniform appeared in the game on Saturday night
  • The Kings are now 8-8 for the season

Houston Stats

  • James Harden was the game’s leading scorer with 34 points
  • Clint Capela posted a double-double with 23 points and 16 rebounds
  • CP3 put up 24 points with 6-of- his 7 buckets being 3-pointers
  • Gerald Green scored 17 points in just 13:40 of playing time
  • The Rockets biggest lead in the game was 26 points
  • Houston is now 8-7 this season

The Kings are in the midst of controversy

Hou Joerger

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that Kings’ head coach Dave Joerger could be on the “hot seat” for not playing younger players like Marvin Bagley III in favor of players like Nemanja Bjelica in order to get wins. Haynes premise was that Joerger was not following the script of developing young talent such Bagley, Harry Giles III, and Skal Labbissiere.

After the game, Kings general manager Vlade Divac issued a statement stating support for Joerger and his confidence in him.

Lee, Thompson lead Warriors over Dragic, Green and Suns

By Joe Hawkes

OAKLAND — The Golden State Warriors went on a 21-2 run (38-17 overall) in the third quarter and held on tight, picking up their fourth straight win 113-107 over the Phoenix Suns Sunday night in front of sold out 19,596 fans at Oracle Arena.

David Lee finished with game-highs of 26 points and nine rebounds on 11 for 18 in 37 minutes, and looked tremendous attacking the basket. Klay Thompson scored 13 of his 22 points in the third quarter. Thompson was 9 for 15 from the field, including 4 for 6 on 3s.

Stephen Curry added 18 points and a game-high nine assists on 7 for 16 from the field while dealing with a strained right quad. Golden State shot a blistering 52.9-percent from the field (45 for 85), while the bench outscored Phoenix’s bench, 36-28.

Draymond Green was the high-man for Golden State off the bench with 13 points.

Phoenix had no answer for Golden State inside, allowing the Warriors to hold a 50-36 edge in points in the paint.

Gerald Green had 25 points and six rebounds, while backcourt mate Goran Dragic added 24 and six assists for Phoenix (36-26), who drop into a tie with the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth spot in the Western Conference playoffs.

With the win, Golden State (40-24) improves to 9-2 since the All-Star break, and moves two games ahead of the Dallas Mavericks (38-26) for the sixth spot in the Western Conference.

Golden State hosts Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks on Tuesday.Klay Thompson

Dragic, Suns topple Curry and Warriors in the desert

By Joe Hawkes

PHOENIX — With the Suns clinging to a 104-102 lead with seven minutes in the fourth quarter, Goran Dragic was relentless Saturday night, scoring 13 of his career-high 34 points in the final frame, steering Phoenix to a 122-109 victory over the short-handed Golden State Warriors Saturday night.

Phoenix (30-21) moves a half-game ahead of the Warriors (30-21) for the sixth-best record in the Western Conference, and dropping Golden State to third in the Pacific Division.

Dragic who many people believed should’ve been voted an All-Star this season, played like one, shooting 10-for-13 from the field, including 5-for-6 from 3-point range. Dragic was outstanding from the free throw line, finishing 8-for-10 and dished out 10 assists.

Gerald Green scored 25 points and five rebounds, while P.J. Tucker finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Marcus Morris had 14 points and six rebounds off the bench, Channing Frye finished with 13 points, and Miles Plumlee 12 points and seven rebounds.

Playing without center Andrew Bogut (shoulder) and power forward David Lee (shoulder/hip), Stephen Curry led Golden State with 28 points and nine assists in 41 minutes of action. Curry shot 10-for-30 from the field, and 3-for-10 from deep.

Harrison Barnes had his best game to date, scoring 23 points on 9-for-15 shooting. It was Barnes’s first 20-point game since Dec. 13.

Klay Thompson had 17 points, Andre Iguodala scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Jermaine O’Neal finished with 11 points.

With both Bogut and Lee sitting out the game, Phoenix out-rebounded Golden State 45-34.

Golden State will look to rebound at home Monday, when they will host the Philadelphia 76ers (15-36).

Kings eclipse Suns, 107-104

Greivis Vasquez, Eric Bledsoe, Isaiah Thomas

By George Devine, Sr.

The Kings improved their record to 3-7 in the Pacific Division with a 107-104 win over the Phoenix Suns at Sacramento.

Leading the charge was DeMarcus Cousins with 27 points ad 19 boards. Ben McLemore had 19 as did Isaiah Thomas. Greivis Vasquez tallied 11 and Patrick Patterson 10.

The Kings led 33-26 after the first quarter but trailed at the half, 63-54. In the third, they barely led, 28-26. But the final period was decisive, 25-16 in favor of the home team which enjoyed a 10-point run toward the end, punctuated by three turnovers by the Suns. The key play before the buzzer took place when Marcus Morris of Phoenix missed a trey from the corner and Cousins got the rebound, subsequently making one of two from the line.

For the visitors, Gerald Green scored 23 and Morris had 19. Channing Frye had 17 with 9 rebounds and Archie Goodwin scored 16.

The two teams meet again at 6 p.m. PST on Wednesday, November 20 in Phoenix, to complete the home-and-home series.