Turnover Plagued Kings Fall to Rockets


A slow start for the Sacramento Kings (9-6) would be all the James Harden-led Houston Rockets (12-3) would need. The turnover-plagued Kings would fall behind by double-digits and try to fight their way back, to no avail. Harden had 26 points on 31 shots, but it was Isaiah Canaan (24 points on 9/16 shooting) and Donatas Motiejunas (21 points) that would be the heroes for the Rockets.

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20 turnovers, which resulted in 32 Rockets points, for the Kings would prove to be fatal as they couldn’t climb their way out of the hole they dug. The Kings did get back into the game in the second half, but ran out of gas as the Rockets got the 102-89 win. Both teams played short-handed with the Kings missing Darren Collison and Rudy Gay and the Rockets missing Dwight Howard, Patrick Beverley and Terrence Jones.

Three Kings turnovers in the first two minutes helped propel the Rockets to a 6-0 lead. The Kings would soon get their first points from DeMarcus Cousins at the charity stripe at the 9:30 mark. A couple more turnovers (leading to 10 points of the five turnovers) and the Kings would face an 18-9 deficit halfway through the quarter.

Turnovers continued to hamper the Kings as the quarter went on and the Rockets would convert them to baskets, finishing with 16 points on nine turnovers. The Rockets would lead 37-19 at the end of one as the Kings looked tired on both ends of the court.

The Rockets and their quick passing would stretch the lead to 22, but after a layup from Derrick Williams and threes from Nik Stauskas and D-Will, the Kings would trim the lead 14. However, the Rockets defense would keep the pressure on Sacramento, once again forcing turnover after turnover.

But the Kings resilience finally paid off as the Rockets missed a couple shots and after assisting 17 shots without giving up a turnover, Houston gave up two in the last couple minutes and the Kings were able to get some momentum their way. Things got a little chippy towards the end of the half with Cousins and Tarik Black getting into it as well as Omri Casspi and Trevor Ariza, whom both earned technical fouls.

The Kings closed the quarter out with a 13-3 run that set the score at 57-50 in favor of the Rockets. Cousins finished the half well on his way to his eighth straight double-double, with 14 points and seven rebounds.

The Kings kept their aggressiveness as the third quarter began, getting the lead down to one only three minutes in. Canaan added a pair of threes for the Rockets as they extended their lead to eight. And it seemed Canaan was there to end a Kings run multiple times, as he took advantage of defenders giving him space and defenders going under screens.

As the Kings fought their way back in, Mike Malone decided to resort to the old hack a player, in this case it was Joey Dorsey, the 25% free throw shooter. Cousins and Carl Landry buckets between Dorsey clank misses brought the Kings to within two, but would finish the third down 77-73.

A slow start for both teams in the fourth had the Rockets up 83-77 through five minutes. Poor defense from the Kings paired with the trigger-happy Rockets made for an embarrassing display of fourth quarter basketball, but the Rockets kept their lead as the quarter went on.

A beautiful pass from DMC to Ben McLemore, who threw down a nice one-handed dunk, would be the highlight of the fourth for Sacramento as they took the L on the road. Cousins finished with 29 points, 17 rebounds, six assists and seven turnovers.

The Kings now head to San Antonio for a Friday night game.