Rockets make it rain 3-pointers as they down the Kings 135-128 on Sunday

by Charlie O. Mallonee

SACRAMENTO–This was a tough game to analyze

“I think the whole thing is kind of hard, but some guys came through, played well. Bobby Brown played really well for us and we saw some good stuff. Obviously, a little ragged on both ends, but to be expected,” said Houston head coach Mike D’Antoni.

Here’s your 2:20 Game Wrap

Skal Labissiere on the Kings run at the end of the game

“We just started being more alert on defense because they have a hard offense to guard. So we kind of figured it out toward the end and just be more assertive on defense – that’s really what it was.”

Kings head coach Dave Joerger’s comments after the game

Key Stats from the game

Top Scorers

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Harden cheers on his team from the bench Photo NBAE
  • For Houston: James Harden posted his 21st triple-double of the season scoring 35 points to go with 15 assists and 11 rebounds
  • For the Kings: Rookie Skal Labissiere recorded 25 points shooting 10-for-12 from the floor. He also hit 5-of-6 from the free throw line

Team shooting stats

  • The Rockets attempted 80 field goals in the game. 43 of those attempts were from behind the 3-point line. They hit 18 of those 3-point shots (41.9-percent). Houston shot 56.3-percent overall for the game
  • The Kings shot 47-for-54 (50-percent) from the field which in most cases would be good enough to win the game for a team. They went 9-for-31 (29-percent) from 3-pointland. Sacramento had an unusually poor night shooting from beyond the 3-point arc

Kings who did not play – coach’s decision

Arron Afflalo, Darren Collison, Tyreke Evans and Kosta Koufos did not enter the game on Sunday versus the Rockets.

Kings draft positions after the loss

Sacramento would draft number eight in the Draft Lottery assuming the ping pong balls do not change history for all-time in favor of the Kings and make them number one. The Kings would also draft at number 10 with the pick they received from New Orleans for DeMarcus Cousins.

Tankathon.com projects that the Kings would wind up with French point guard Frank Ntilikina at number eight and small forward Miles Bridges from Michigan State with the number 10 selection.

Up next for the Kings

The Kings will play their final home game of the season on Tuesday night against the Phoenix Suns. Sacramento is 2-1 versus the Suns this season. The Kings two victories came on the road in Phoenix. The Suns won the game in Sacramento 105-103 on February 3rd.

The Warriors do it again, win their sixth in a row over the Houston Rockets 125-108

by Jerry Feitelberg

The Warriors are on a roll. They beat the Houston Rockets in Houston by a score of 125-108. The Warriors continue to play great defense as the held the Rockets All-Star James Harden to just 17 points. The Warriors led by five at the half 62-57. However, as they have done so often this season, they put it into gear and outscored the Rockets 37-22 to lead by twenty at the end of three periods of play.

They continue to shine on defense. They blocked seven shots and had eight steals. They continue to lead the NBA in both those categories. The big block of the night came in the fourth quarter when Kevin Durant blocked Eric Gordon’s 3-point shot. Gordon was 2-for-14  from the floor and ended the night with just six points.

With the win, the Warriors are now 37-6 for the season. The Rockets drop to 33-13 and are 2 games back of the San Antonio Spurs in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference. All five Warrior starter were in double figures. KD had a big night with 32 points,7 assists, 4 boards, and 2 blocked shots. Steph Curry made 5 three-point shots and ended the night with 24 points and he, too, had 7 assists. Klay Thompson knocked down 16. The Dubs’ defensive whiz, Draymond Green continued his excellent season with 15 points, 7 assists,8 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots.

Zaza Pachulia, who seems to be getting better as he gets used to the Warriors’ offense, recorded 10 points, 2 assists, and 9 rebounds. Andre Iguodala had 5 points, 2 assists, and 9 big rebounds helping the Dubs to the win. Patrick McCaw and James Michael McAdoo, who is filling in for the injured David West, each had 8 points. James Harden had a double-double with 17 points and 11 assists. Harden also committed 7 turnovers.Clint Capela scored 22, Sam Dekker 17, Patrick Beverly,13, and Trevor Aziza 12.

The Warriors have recorded 30 or more assists for the fourth game in a row and the 30th time this season. No other team in the NBA has had more than 8 games with 30 or more assists.

The Warriors have now beaten three of the five teams that have defeated them so far this year. They evened the series with a convincing win over the Cleveland Cavaliers last Monday. They beat the Lakers in November after an embarrassing early season loss in LA. They now defeated the Rockets to get a measure of revenge as the Rockets beat the Dubs in double-overtime at Oracle Arena in December. The Dubs now have to beat the Memphis Grizzlies, and San Antonio Spurs to get even. They play Memphis twice in February, once in Memphis and once at Oracle. They play the Sputs two more time, and both games will be in San Antonio.

The Warriors fly to the Sunshine State to play the Orlando Magic. Game time is at, gulp, 9 am Sunday morning. They play the Miami Heat on Monday.

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.

 

Rockets beat the Kings 117-104 in a record setting shootout

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Houston Rockets v Sacramento Kings
Harden has a triple-double versus the Kings (Rocky Widner/NBAE)

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

Houston Rockets v Sacramento Kings
Omri Casspi returns for the Kings (Rocky Widner/NBAE)

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

Houston Rockets v Sacramento Kings
El Dorado Hills Ryan Anderson comes alive in the 3rd quarter (Rocky Widner/NBAE)

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

Houston Rockets v Sacramento Kings
DeMarcus Cousins tries to take the game over for the Kings (Rocky Widner/,NBAE)

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

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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.

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.

Warriors send Rockets packing in dominating fashion

by Michael Martinez

picture credit CBS 46 Atlanta

Well, Steph Curry did not play and yet the Warriors showed why they made history for the best record in NBA history. Normally, a team without their star player has a lot to worry about. The Warriors showed no problems minus the reigning MVP and proved why they are the team to beat besides the fact their last year’s champs. Golden State annihilated the Houston Rockets in a 114-81 victory at Oracle Arena.

Let’s be honest, there’s not much to say about this game. The game went exactly as most would have figured given that the Warriors routed Houston in game four and not to mention they’re the Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors played great, the Rockets played atrociously, which is a recipe for disaster. The Warriors played with great togetherness and to nobody’s surprise, they shot out of this world. Golden State made it look easy as they finished with a 54.9 shooting percentage while Houston could not find a way to score with a 32.6 shooting percentage. Golden State played solid defense as they forced 18 turnovers for 25 points.

James Harden was the only Rockets’ player to show any offensive life finishing with 35 points. Besides Harden, Michael Beasley was the only other Houston player to finish the game in double figures.

Klay Thompson did his best to fill Curry’s shoes and finished with 27 points. Thompson knocked down seven buckets from behind the arc on 11 shots and finished 10 of 14 from the field overall. Draymond Green was tremendous overall as usual and totaled 15 points, grabbed nine boards and dropped eight dimes.

Shaun Livingston had a good game on offense as well and scored 16 points on seven of eight shooting. The Warriors looked just as good as they always are and bounced the Rockets out of the playoffs.

Throughout the game, Curry showed incredible excitement from the bench and supported his teammates like no other. And this is why the Warriors are so dangerous, they have some of the greatest team chemistry I have witnessed in my lifetime.

The Warriors won the series and only allowed the Rockets to win one game, which came down to the wire.

Golden State will either face the Los Angeles Clippers who are without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin or the Portland Trailblazers. Portland won game five in their series to go up 3-2 and it appears like they will be Golden State’s semifinal opponent.

Whoever the Warriors play, fans are hopeful that Curry can make his way back into the playoffs. But, with the way Golden State played tonight, let Curry take as much time as he needs to get ready for the Western Conference Finals. I am knocking on wood though, so the whole Bay Area doesn’t freak out on me and say I jinxed them.

 

Warriors dominate Rockets 104-78; Curry suffers ankle injury

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors
Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The juggernaut that is the Golden State Warriors steamrollered the Houston Rockets 104-78 in game one of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs. The Warriors led the game wire-to-wire en route to the win.

The dominate win has been overshadowed by an injury to superstar Stephen Curry. Curry tweaked his right ankle late in the second quarter and had to be taken into the locker room have the ankle re-taped. Curry would return to start the third quarter but played only 2:47 in the period before having to return to the bench.

In his postgame  media conference, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr told reporters that Curry would not have been available to return to the game if Houston would have made a comeback. Kerr went on to say that Curry is questionable for game two on Monday night. In NBA terms, questionable means there is only a 50 percent chance that Curry will play.

Curry was the Warriors leading scorer with 24 points in his limited playing time of 19-plus minutes. Not only would the Warriors miss Curry’s scoring punch but the sight of Curry on the bench could serve as real source of motivation for Houston who do not want to go home down 0-2 in the series.

The Warriors defense was as impressive as their offense. Golden State held the Rockets shooting to just 35.7 percent (30-for-84) from the field. Houston who lives by the creed of “score in the paint or shoot the three” shot just 27.3 percent (6-for-22) from long range.

The Golden State defense kept James Harden off the free throw for the entire game. Harden makes his living driving to the basket and forcing reach-in fouls for opportunities to score from the free throw line.

Kerr told reporters after the game that not reaching in on Harden was major point of emphasis for the Warriors defensive scheme. The plan worked to perfection.

The Golden State defense also caused the Rockets to be sloppy in guarding the basketball. Houston turned the ball over 24 times in the game. The Rockets had more turnovers than assists (16). A negative assists-to-turnover ratio makes it literally impossible to win a game in the NBA.

The Warriors held the Rockets to just eight second-chance points. For comparison, Golden State scored 25 points when give a second chance to score.

There will be much talk about the Warriors outscoring the Rockets by 26 points. The real discussion should be about the Warriors holding the Houston offense to just 78 points.

Warriors

Stephen Curry was the team’s leading scorer with 24 points. Curry went 5-for-7 from 3-point land. He also grabbed seven rebounds, had three steals and dished out two assists in his limited playing time.

As you might have guessed, Klay Thompson helped to fill the gap left by Curry having to leave the game. Thompson scored 16 points but had to take 14 shots to score those points. He was perfect from the free throw line going 6-for-6. Thompson finished with five rebounds, four assists and one steal.

Draymond Green had a double-double game scoring 12 points and recording 10 rebounds. Green led his team in playing time with 33:17 played.

Marreese Speights was the Warriors leading scorer off the bench with 12 points. He shot 5-for-11 from the field.

Andre Iguodala was real force on offense for Golden State coming off the bench to dish out a game-high seven assists.

Rockets

James Harden was the leading scorer for the Rockets with 17 points but he had to take 19 shots to score those points. He was just 3-for-5 from behind the 3-point line. Harden turned the ball over six times.

Dwight Howard was surprisingly a big factor in this game for the Rockets. Howard has experienced a less than stellar season for Houston. He put up a double-double in this game scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds for his team.

Patrick Beverley was also a surprising non-factor for Houston on Saturday. After a first quarter skirmish with Curry that resulted in off-setting technical fouls, Beverley picked up three personal fouls and was sent to the bench. He played just 5:10 in the second half after picking up his fourth foul. Beverley finished just two points.

What they said after the game

Steve Kerr evaluating how his team played

“…Very satisfied. I thought our defense was excellent. We didn’t reach. We made them earn every point and we did have the brief spell when Steph (Curry) went out where we sort of lost our focus, lost our poise but we quickly recovered, a lot of guys played but it was a good, solid victory.”

Klay Thompson on the intensity of the game

“It did (get chippy). You expect that in the playoffs.No team is going to lay down against us. I’m just happy we didn’t let it phase us. We’ve got a strong group.”

Houston head coach J.B. Bickerstaff on his team’s first half performance

“One of their strengths defensively is their versatility. They do a lot of switching. They have guys who can defend multiple positions. We didn’t do a good enough job making them pay. When they switch, we have to move more. Instead, we moved less which made us easier to guard. They just sat … they has 10 eyes on the ball-handler. We didn’t put enough pressure behind them, move them around enough so our penetraters could penetrate and make plays for other people. This can’t be a one-sided game offensively. The ball has to move. There has to be a thrust to your offense.There has to be early action, early attacks. They’re too good defensively if you don’t.”

Up next

Game two will be played on Monday at 7:30 PM (PDT) in Oakland. The game will be televised on TNT.

3 C’s help Kings pick up win, 107-97, over Rockets

by Michael Martinez

picture credit Google Images

SACRAMENTO- The Kings came in to the night knowing they would be  missing Rajon Rondo. Rondo was suspended for Tuesday night’s game after saying a derogatory term toward referee Bill Kennedy. Coming into the game, the Kings knew they were going to be missing offensive help and ball movement. Without Rondo, point guard Darren Collison got the start and he showed up big time. Along with DeMarcus Cousins who has been solid as of late and Omri Casspi who has stepped up big since Willie Cauley-Stein’s injury. Rudy Gay helped  the Kings on the offensive end as well and the Kings did a better job on defense while continuing to move the ball and score in the paint. The Kings (9-15) defeated the Houston Rockets (12-13), 107-97, for their third straight win at Sleep Train Arena.

As the game got underway, the Kings got out to an early lead after an 11-2 run. Collision showed off his passing ability with 4 assists in that short period of time. After the quick start the Kings slowed down a bit and the Rockets got ahead of the Kings. Cousins picked up a technical in the quarter and it was a back and forth shootout. The score at the end of the first was a 31-31 tie. Cousins put up 12 points on 3/7 from the field with 2 threes and added 4 rebounds. Cousins also picked up a technical. Gay added 7 points on 3/4 shooting. The team shot 50% from the field and scored 16 points in the paint.

The scoring in the 2nd quarter started with Casspi hitting a 3 pointer. Early on George Karl picked up a technical. The Kings did a good job of passing and pushing the ball. Collision hit Casspi on an alley-oop on a fast break. Collision had 9 assists in 11 minutes. Both teams were a little carless with the ball as they had 8 turnovers each in the 2nd and 14 for the Rockets and 13 turnovers for the Kings. Casspi came around scoring 8 points on 3/3 shooting. Collision put up 7 in the 2nd quarter, the only points he scored in the half. Cousins had a game high, 17 points on 4/10 shooting. James Harden had a team high 10 points. The Kings shot 48.8% for the half and scoring 30 points for the half in the paint. Dwight Howard picked up a technical with 2 minutes left in the quarter. With they better defense and good passing ability the Kings took the lead heading into the locker room, 57-50.

As the teams head out of the locker room, the Kings were doing a good job of finding the open man. Collison got a wide open 3 pointer at 9:48 the Rockets were forced to take a timeout. Collison and Casspi had another fast break dunk. And Rudy Gay helped on another fast break opportunity with Ben McLemore slamming a huge dunk on another fast break. The Kings issue was turning the ball over, 11 times, in the 3rd quarter. Luckily, the shot the ball at 60% and out rebounded the Rockets, 33-27. Harden tried to keep his team in it with 14 points the 3rd quarter, and 24 points by the end of the quarter. Cousins notched 23 points with 9/12 from the free throw line. Collision had 14 points through 3 quarters. 6-8 shooting, and 11 assists. Casspi scored 17 points. The Kings kept their lead over the Rockets, 82-74 to end the 3rd quarter and at one point had their biggest lead of 16 points in the quarter.

Heading into the last quarter, the Kings were looking to finish minus one of their star players. Marco Belinelli, who struggled all game, got 2 three pointers off to gain some confidence in his shot. He added another 3 pointer, for 9 points in the quarter. Rudy Gay posterized Patrick Beverly with a huge tomahawk slam. He added 5 in the quarter and 17 points for the game with 13 rebounds. He shot well, 6/11 from the field and the Kings shot 50.7% from the field. The Kings held a 15 point lead in the 4th quarter and finished the game, 107-97, to beat the Kings. The team finished with 50 point sin the paint, 47 rebounds and 25 assists. The only down fall was their 29 turnovers.

The 3 C’s helped lead the Kings (10-15) to a well deserved victory against the Rockets (12-14). Collision finished with his first double double of the season scoring 14 points and totaling 13 assists, in place of Rondo who is the league’s leading assists man. Collision finished with a season high in assists as well as rebounds totaling 7. Cousins had  a double double as well with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Casspi scored 19 points on 8/11 shooting from the field with 6 assists. The team did a good job of moving the ball around and getting good shots near the hoop. Harden did finish with 33 points, 10/18 from the field but the Kings put out a better defensive effort.

The Kings will take on the Minnesota Timberwolves on the road this  Friday and will seek revenge after losing to the T-Wolves earlier in the season. With a 3 game winning streak under their belt, the Kings will get back Rondo and look to continue their winning ways.

Failure to launch: Kings lose to Rockets 120-113

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Houston Rockets
Photo credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings lost a winnable game in Houston on Saturday night 120-113. It was game that featured some boring play in the first half and uptempo play in the second half. The game turned into a true seesaw battle until the final two minutes of play.

It was a two-point game with 3:11 left to go in the game. DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay were playing with five personal fouls each. Cousins fouled out with 2:14 remaining in the contest. The Rockets responded by hitting 3-point baskets and converting opportunities at the free throw line. In the end, the Kings could only commit fouls and pray for Houston misses which did not happen. The game ended with the Rockets on top 120-113.

The Kings started the game with their 12th different starting lineup of the season due to the loss of Willie Cauley-Stein to injury (dislocated index finger) for the next four to six weeks. Rudy Gay moved to the power forward position and Omri Casspi started at small forward.

Sacramento fell behind quickly in the first quarter shooting an appalling 36.8-percent from the field and going 0-5 for 3-point attempts. The Kings were also hampered by personal fouls. Gay and Cousins both picked two personals in the first period and had spend time on the bench. The Rockets shot just 41.7-percent from the floor but hit on 4-of-12 3-point attemps which helped them establish a 29-16 lead after one quarter of play.

Things turned around for the Kings in the second quarter. Ben McLemore led the attack with 11 points and Omri Casspi added seven points. Sacramento also made 4-of-9 shots from behind the 3-point line. Houston was unable to put together any scoring runs and watched as the Kings outscored them 34-23 in the quarter. The Rockets led the game 52-50 at the half.

Both teams looked like different squads coming out of halftime DeMarcus Cousins had to spend considerable time on the bench after committing his fourth foul. The Kings caught fire shooting 70-percent (14-for-20) from the floor. Rajon Rondo (8), Ben McLemore (6), Kosta Koufos (6) and Darren Collison (5) led the charge for Sacramento. The Rockets shot 58.8-percent behind the scoring of James Harden (10) and Dwight Howard (9). The third quarter ended with the Kings leading the game 85-84.

Kings

Ben McLemore had a breakout game against the Rockets. He scored 19 points hitting on 8-of-14 shots including four successful 3-point attempts. McLemore added nine rebounds, three steals, two assists and one block to his box score. Several times in the flow of the game McLemore was the spark plug that kept the Kings charge going.

Rajon Rondo had another double-double night dishing out 19 assists to go with 13 points. Rondo also recorded four steals. It was the 11th game of the season where Rondo posted 10 or more assists.

Darren Collison came of the bench and scored 18 points in just 21 minutes on the floor. He was an impressive 4-for-6 from 3-point land. Collison also added six assists.

DeMarcus Cousins was hampered by foul trouble the entire game but also just seemed out of sorts throughout the contest. The Kings center scored just 14 points and pulled down 9 rebounds. Cousins shot just 4-for-16 and was 0-for-3 for 3-point attempts.

Rudy Gay also had to deal with foul trouble but scored 15 points. He was 6-for-12 shooting from the floor.

Sacramento had solid team numbers for the game. The Kings shot 46.9-percent (46-for-98) overall and 38.5-percent (10-for-26) from 3-point range. They converted 11 of 13 free throw opportunities.

The Kings out-rebounded the Rockets 47-43. Sacramento won the battle of the paint scoring 56 points to just 36 for Houston.

Sacramento recorded 35 assists and turned the ball over just 13 times.

Houston

James Harden led the Rockets scoring attack with 31 points. Harden shot 6-for-14 from the floor and hit on 5-of-6 3-point attempts. He also had nine assists for Houston.

Dwight Howard had a double-double game scoring 22 points and grabbing 18 rebounds. When the Kings employed the “hack-a-Howard” strategy, Howard responded by making 8-of-14 free throws.

Terrence Jones scored 16 points off the bench to join Trevor Ariza (14) and Patrick Beverley (14) in double figures.

Two stats tell the story of the Houston victory over the Kings. The Rockets were successful on 16-of-34 3-point attempts, and they went 32-for-43 from the free throw line. In the end, it was too many 3-point baskets and too many free throws that caused the Kings to lose the game.

What they said after the game

“It was a frustrating game and the free throws … trying to fight through a tough whistle is … I thought we did a great job. I was proud of how they fought. I was proud of how well we played. We got off to a bad start. I thought our bench came in and gave us a big lift. You know we had foul trouble. Everybody kind of gave us something but we ran out of gas in last four or five minutes,” said Kings head coach George Karl after the game.

When asked to analyze Cousin’s performance, Karl said, “I think his jumper is a little rusty from being out for a little bit. I think the foul trouble bothers me. Inconsistent type of rhythm that comes with not being in your normal routine, normal minutes. You know he’s playing against a pretty damned good center. (Dwight) Howard is a pretty respectful dude.

Up next

The Kings headed right to the airport and flew to Oklahoma City where they will play the Thunder (11-8) on Sunday afternoon. OKC is a tough back-to-back on the road opponent.

The Rockets hit the road and will play the Nets in Brooklyn on Tuesday. Houston will visit Sacramento on December 15.

Curry Shows Up Harden, Downs Houston 112-92

By Shawn Whelchel

In their first meeting of the 2015 NBA season, Steph Curry gave James Harden a first-hand demonstration as to why he was voted the leagues MVP over the disgruntled Rockets player, dropping 25 points while leading his team to a 112-92 victory on Friday.

The league MVP and NBA Champion shot an efficient 9-of-15 from the field, including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc, while also dishing out six assists and grabbing seven rebounds in 27 minutes of play. Curry’s MVP challenger struggled for the second straight game, shooting just 4-for-18 for 16 points on the night in a losing effort.

Harrison Barnes, Klay Thompson, Marreese Speights and Andre Iguodala all finished in double-digits for Golden State, with Speights leading the group with 14 points on the night.

The contest was tight and physical through the first quarter, with Golden State holding on to just a one point lead at the end of the first quarter. But a posterizing dunk from Barnes on Houston center Dwight Howard seemed to energize the team and swing the match in their favor, as they jumped out to a comfortable 57-44 lead at the half.

Golden state would continue to expand upon their lead as the game went on, cruising their way to a 20 point victory by the games end. The team worked their way into a 2-0 record, while denying Houston their first win of the season.

Houston was led by Montrezl Harrell’s 17 points off the bench, followed by Harden’s 16. Even without C Andrew Bogut, Golden State was able to limit Dwight Howard’s impact on the game, holding him to just nine points on 4-of-11 shooting and seven rebounds.

The Western conference runner ups were clearly frustrated by being steadily handled by the reigning NBA champions, as both Harrell and Houston coach Kevin McHale were called for technical fouls during the night’s contest. The team suffered a 4-1 series exit at the hands of Golden State before the team moved on to the NBA Finals last season.

The team will now move on to continue their win streak with their second game of the season against the New Orleans Pelicans on the road on Saturday, their first back-to-back games of the season.