After stringing together four-straight wins at the end of March, the Sacramento Kings have lost two-straight since and appear to be limping towards the finish line. I can’t say I didn’t see this one coming.
DeMarcus Cousins is going to be in and out of the lineup from this point on. The Kings are keeping him off the injury report, making it nearly impossible to predict if he’s going to play on any given night until tipoff.
Cousins didn’t play in Monday nights 97-83 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. It was a predictable outcome without Cousins, but the Kings played OK for stretches in this one. It wasn’t a complete blowout, which could be looked at as a moral victory if you’re in to that sort of thing.
Rudy Gay suffered a concussion after colliding with Marc Gasol in that game. Per the NBA’s concussion recovery policy, Gay has already been ruled out for tonight’s game. He’ll be put through a few stages of concussion testing before he’s cleared to play, and at this point it wouldn’t surprise me if we didn’t see him again this season. That is pure speculation on my part, but either way, concussions are serious business and I hope Gay recovers as soon as possible.
The Kings are in Houston tonight to play the Rockets. Gay is out. Darren Collison is obviously out. DeMarcus Cousins may or may not play. This one could get ugly.
Houston has their fair share of injuries, but this is a 50-24 team we’re talking about here. James Harden has been relatively healthy all season, and they’ve proved that he’s really all they need.
The Rockets deserve a lot of credit for their depth. They’ve had role players in and out of the rotation all season, but they keep plugging replacement players in and they keep producing. Their injuries could come back to bite them once the playoffs start, but they’ve done an amazing job sustaining solid play throughout the regular season.
I cannot predict what the Kings’ lineup will look like tonight, but I know I’d like to see David Wear find minutes while the Kings still have him under a 10-day contract. Wear saw some garbage time minutes with Cousins out in Memphis, which I found slightly disappointing. I would have thought that with Cousins out, a few real rotation minutes would open up for him, but it just didn’t work out like that. Rudy Gay’s absence in the lineup could shuffle things around enough that Wear might play meaningful minutes tonight. We’ll see.
George Karl said that with Gay out, he might start Nik Stauskas and go with that three guard lineup we’ve been hearing about. I don’t necessarily love forcing either Ben McLemore or Nik Stauskas over to small forward, but at this point I’ll take any strategy that results in Stauskas playing more minutes. The Kings have nine games left, and I’d like to see him play over 30 minutes per game in every one of those nine games.
Sacramento Kings at Houston Rockets
Where: Toyota Center – Houston, TX
When: 5:00 PM, 8:00 PM EST
Broadcast: Comcast Sportsnet California
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM