Ben DuBose of Sports Talk 790 Houston and Locked on Rockets Podcast previews the Houston Rockets for Kings fans.
How are James Harden and Chris Paul working out as a backcourt team so far in the preseason?
With Harden and CP3 on the floor together does that change the pace of play for the Rockets?
How does local favorite Ryan Anderson look so far in the preseason?
Now that the roster is set – are there any surprises?
Is there any worry about a let down on Wednesday in Sacramento after the hype and energy that will be expended in the Bay Area versus the Golden State Warriors?
Get the insiders view of the Kings first opponent of the 2017-18 season in just 20 minutes of fast paced questions and answers. Be ready for opening night by knowing more about the Rockets and what to watch for as they play the Kings.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
The Golden State Warriors (14-12) made easy work of the New Orleans Pelicans (11-12), cruising to a 104-93 victory, Tuesday night at Oracle Arena. The final margin of victory doesn’t do justice to a game that Golden State controlled from the tip-off. Andre Igoudala returned to the lineup after missing 12 games with an injury, and Stephen Curry was his usual electric self.
In a pleasant departure from the last several games, the Warriors started the game guns blazing. They hit seven of their first 10 shots, and in general played with a sense of urgency we haven’t been seeing until the second half of games. They held a seven-point first quarter lead, and extended that into an 18-point lead at half time.
They never gave New Orleans even a glimmer of hope. Golden State kept their foot on the gas pedal, opening up a whopping 23-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. From there the Warriors emptied their bench, but the final 11-point win was as close as the Pelicans ever got.
Golden State never trailed in this one, and led for 47 of 48 minutes. They had an uncharacteristically poor game from the three-point line, hitting just five-of-20 from beyond the arc, but that was just about the only negative on a night full of positives.
From start to finish Curry was phenomenal. He finished the game with a double-double, posting a game-high 28 points and 12 assists. For good measure he also had four rebounds and three steals. This marks his 11th consecutive game with 20+ points, the longest active streak in the NBA, and a personal career high.
David Lee had possibly his best game of the season. He was extremely active on both ends of the floor, and produced his almost customary double-double. He finished with 21 points and 17 rebounds.
Bogut finished just two points shy of the teams third double-double on the night. He had eight points and 10 boards.
Iguodala had a quiet night, as he was slowly eased back into game action. He played just 17 minutes, scoring two points and dishing out two assists. As always he was active on the defensive end, and seemed to be moving around well and without pain.
Five New Orleans players finished with double-digit points in the loss. Ryan Anderson led the team with 21 points, and had six rebounds.
Golden State is back in action this Thursday against the always tough San Antonio Spurs. The game begins at 7:30pm, back at Oracle Arena.