NBA Gameday: Shorthanded Kings to face Harden, Rockets without Cousins

NBA Gameday: Shorthanded Kings to face Harden, Rockets without Cousins

The shorthanded Sacramento Kings take their show on the road Wednesday night when they begin a three-game trip with a stop in Houston to face the high-powered Rockets. The Kings are fresh off a blowout win over the Lakers and looking to build some momentum, but they'll have to do it without DeMarcus Cousins.

Due to Cousins' heavy workload so far this season, the Kings have decided to rest their starting center Wednesday night.

Forward Rudy Gay and guard Ben McLemore have both been ruled out due to injuries suffered against the Lakers.

When these two teams faced off in late November at Golden 1 Center, the Rockets put on an incredible shooting display. Houston shot an NBA record 51 3-pointers, making 21 on their way to a 13-point win.

James Harden led the way, nearly posting a triple-double in the victory, but it was veteran Trevor Ariza who did the real damage. Ariza knocked down 6-of-11 from long range on his way to 18 points.

Cousins led a late comeback, hitting a career-high five 3-pointers. Sacramento made it a game, but getting into a shootout with an offensive juggernaut like the Rockets isn’t advised.

Rockets by 9.5

Garrett Temple vs. James Harden -- With McLemore ailing, there is no word on who will start alongside Darren Collison in the Kings backcourt. But who starts and who plays the majority of the minutes might not be the same player. Temple is as close as the Kings have to a lockdown defender. He’s athletic and long, but guarding Harden takes a special kind of patience. Harden is averaging 28.1 points, 11.6 assists and 7.6 points per game. If his shot isn’t on, he finds ways to draw fouls, where he shoots 10.4 attempts per night making him one of the more difficult covers in the game.

Kings: 9-15, fourth place in Pacific

Rockets: 18-7, second place in Southwest

Kings: C DeMarcus Cousins (rest) out, SF Rudy Gay (hip flexor) out, SG Ben McLemore (quad contusion) out.

Rockets: No injuries to report.

Houston took game one of the season series when they lit Sacramento up from behind the 3-point line for a 117-104 victory. The Rockets hold a 125-88 all-time lead over the Kings and an 84-42 advantage in the Sacramento-era.

“I think we got more aggressive defensively. Shared the ball, played together - we had a good flow going towards the end of the game. I think we clicked as a team late down the stretch and that’s what helped us push through.” -DeMarcus Cousins on the Kings win over the Lakers on Monday night

Vince Carter 'very humbled' to pass Patrick Ewing on all-time scoring list

Vince Carter 'very humbled' to pass Patrick Ewing on all-time scoring list

SACRAMENTO -- Half man, half amazing. Vincanity. Air-Canada. V.C.

Vince Carter has plenty of nicknames on his bio. He also has plenty of achievements over his long NBA career. On Monday night in Sacramento, he added a new one.  

With his seven point performance in the Kings’ 106-90 loss to the Detroit Pistons, the 41-year-old forward surpassed a former teammate on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

“It means a lot, because in my days in Orlando, I played with Pat Ewing and know him very well,” Carter said following the game.

Carter came into the night needing five points to tie Ewing’s 24,815 mark for 22nd place on the all-time scoring list.

In the early second quarter, Carter stole a pass from Andre Drummond at the top of the key  and flew down for a breakaway jam to move within three points of Ewing.

“It’s fun for everyone, just to show I can still do it,” Carter said of the dunk. “I think I’ve proven I can, but it’s still fun. I told James Ennis on the way, I said, ‘stay back, don’t foul me.’”

Ennis likely couldn’t have caught Carter either way, but the slam got the Kings crowd going.

At the 4:12 mark of the second, Carter drilled a 12-footer to move within one point of Ewing and with 29.5 seconds remaining in the third, Carter knocked down a 26-foot 3-pointer that rattled around and tried to spin out.

That was the last bucket of the evening for Carter, giving him 24,817 for his 20-year career. He now sits alone in 22nd place, two points ahead of the former New York Knicks star center.

“That’s crazy,” 20-year-old De’Aaron Fox said. “That’s a lot of buckets. Top-25, that’s huge - a lot of guys won’t get close to that.”

Carter now sits just 375 points behind legendary Laker, Jerry West for 21st place and 462 shy of Reggie Miller for a spot in the top 20.

“When you talk about (being) in the top 25 in scoring all-time, you just look at the list of the greats and elite players and the best of the best that still play, and to be in that group, I’m very humbled and thankful for it,” Carter told the media scrum surrounding his locker.

Carter was away from the team over the weekend dealing with a death in the family. He returned to Sacramento to play on Monday, but did so with a heavy heart.

For most of his life, the basketball court has been his place to escape. After two decades as a pro, it still has that effect.

“I just still love it, it’s been great to me, it gives me an opportunity to be around the younger generation and still be around the game I love and accomplish things like this,” Carter said.

He’s played sparingly for Sacramento this season, but his impact on the bench, in practice and behind the scenes as a leader and mentor to the young Kings has been immeasurable.

Carter hasn’t committed to retiring following the season. He will weigh his options, but there is a possibly he will look for one last run at an NBA championship.

Carter passes Ewing on all-time scoring list


Carter passes Ewing on all-time scoring list

SACRAMENTO -- Moving on up. Vince Carter came into Monday evening’s matchup against the Detroit Pistons needing just five points to surpass Patrick Ewing for 22nd place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. He got that and a little more.

Carter, 41, picked off a Pistons pass in the second quarter and hammered down a breakaway dunk to score his first two points of the evening. He knocked down a jumper in the lane before halftime to get within one point of Ewing and then moved ahead of the 7-footer with a 3-pointer in the third quarter.

The 20-year NBA veteran now sits at 24,817 points. He is 375 points behind the great Jerry West’s 25,192, who currently sits in 21st place on the all-time list.