Game Preview: Houston Rockets (12-13) at Sacramento Kings (9-15)


The Houston Rockets (12-13) fly into Sleep Train Arena tonight to face the Rondo-less Sacramento Kings (9-15). Even with Houston’s slow start to the season, they have managed to win the first two meetings this year.

The Kings will have to find a way to win tonight without Rajon Rondo, who was suspended for tonight’s game for saying anti-gay slurs toward referee Bill Kennedy.

Referee Bill Kennedy came out publicly as gay after the NBA suspended Rondo. Rajon was suspended for one game without pay for a derogatory term he used towards Kennedy during a game against the Boston Celtics in Mexico City. Rondo replied via twitter:

With Houston coming off a loss last night to the Denver Nuggets, the Kings will have a chance to come out fast and strong against the inconsistent Rockets and get the win. Not having Rajon in the line up hurts the Kings chances, but the Kings bench have the ability to pick up the slack.

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Darren Collison, who most likely will start in Rajon’s place, will need to have another solid game, and Seth Curry could see some significant playing time as well. The point guard duo should be able to make up for the points and assists Sacramento will be missing with Rondo out of the lineup. But Rondo’s leadership on the floor will be missed.

Sacramento’s guards have not been able to contain James Harden this year anyway, and he should be expected to have another high scoring game. Harden has made 51.4 percent of his shots against the Kings this season and averages 37.0 points and 11.0 assists.

DeMarcus Cousin had a poor outing in Houston the last time these teams met. Expect a better performance from Boogie tonight and an entertaining battle under the basket against Dwight Howard.

There are four ways the Kings can take advantage tonight, and get their first win against Houston.

  1. This is the second game in a back-to-back for Houston, while the Kings have had four days off to rest.
  2. DeMarcus was in a bad need for a break. He had been playing sluggish while dealing with injuries. He should be energized for tonight’s game.
  3. With Curry getting some minutes tonight, expect a lot of shots from the 3-point-arc from Sacramento. The threat of the outside shot should help with spacing and opening up the floor for the Kings
  4. Whenever the Kings make national news, it’s never good. The team should be very motivated to put the Rondo controversy behind them and just come out and play some basketball tonight.

Tonight’s game is almost guaranteed to be up tempo and high scoring, and if the Kings can continue their defensive effort as of late, they should be able to make it three wins in a row.