By Jeremiah Salmonson
Houston Rockets forward Tari Eason, center, and forward Bruno Fernando (20) defend against Sacramento Kings guard Malik Monk during the first half at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento on Wed Jan 11, 2023 (AP News photo)
SACRAMENTO–The Sacramento Kings (22-18) were back in action on Wednesday at home. The Kings last game was Monday, where they took on the Orlando Magic. The Kings were able to handle the Magic with ease in the blowout win 136-111.
On Wednesday, the Kings welcomed the Houston Rockets (18-31) to Sacramento. The Rockets were in town for a two-game series with games to be played on Wednesday and Friday nights. The Rockets came in 10-30 on the season, as the Kings were 21-18. The tip-off was set for 7 PM PST in Sacramento. GAME RESULT The Kings took the first of the two game set with a 20 point win 135-115 at Golden 1 Center.
In the first quarter, the Rockets started strong. They scored the first eight points of the game to put the Kings on notice. However, that would be short-lived. The Kings would turn up the heat on the Rockets and score 31 points in the first quarter. Granted, that was only good for a four-point lead as the Rockets scored 27 themselves. The Kings would have a first-quarter lead and look to expand that in the second quarter.
The Kings built on the lead early in the second quarter and then lost it. The Kings scored 36 points in the second quarter. That was a good number, but the defense suffered. The Kings Kryptonite all year has been defense; Wednesday was no exception to this rule. The Rockets scored 35 points in the second quarter to keep pace with the Kings. However, the Kings would take a five-point 67-62 lead into halftime. De’Aaron Fox led the way in the first half with 12 points, as Jalen Green led the way for the Rockets with 18.
In the third quarter, the Kings did not play well. Not only did the Kings defense not show up the offense wasn’t able to pick them up. The Rockets outscored the Kings 33-27 in the third quarter to come back and take the lead from the Kings. The Rockets would head into the final quarter with a one-point lead over the Kings. The Kings would need someone to step up in the fourth quarter if they wanted to win the game.
In the fourth quarter, the Kings do what good teams do against a poor opponent; the Kings took over. The Kings offense and defense simultaneously exploded in the fourth quarter as the Kings outscored the Rockets 41-20. It was a massive quarter for the Kings and a welcome sight, given so many close games late this season.
Trey Lyles was the hero of the quarter, scoring 15 of his 20 points in the fourth to lead the Kings to a 20 point win over the Rockets. Leading the way for the Kings was Domantas Sabonis, who was an assist shy of a triple-double. The Rockets best performance came from Alperen Sengun, who had a 10, 10, and 10 triple-double in the loss. The Kings improved to 22-18 as the Rockets fell to 10-31.
Up Next: The Kings stay home to take on the Houston Rockets in the second game of the series on Friday at 7 PM PST.