The Sacramento Kings travel to Houston as heavy underdogs Wednesday evening, trying to sweep a Texas two-step. They’ll face a red hot Rockets team that’s won nine straight and sits just a half game out of first place in the Western Conference.
After a 114-109 win over the Mavericks on Tuesday, the Kings finish their pre All-Star break schedule against Houston. Zach Randolph posted 22 points and seven rebounds against Dallas and Bogdan Bogdanovic added 19 points as the Kings picked up their 18th win of the season.
The Rockets played on Tuesday evening as well. They ran over the Timberwolves for a 126-108 road win, behind a 34-point, 13-assists night from MVP candidate, James Harden.
Rockets by 14
MATCHUP TO WATCH
De’Aaron Fox vs. Chris Paul -- Known as one of the best leaders in the NBA, there is plenty Fox can learn from Paul. The nine-time NBA All-Star has fit seamlessly into the Rockets high octane offense. Fox is getting on-the-job training each and every night as he wades his way through his rookie NBA season.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 18-38, fourth in the Pacific
Rockets: 43-13 first in the Southwest
Kings: SG/SF Iman Shumpert (plantar fasciitis) out, SF Bruno Caboclo (personal) status unknown at this time, PF Skal Labissiere (shoulder strain) out, PG Frank Mason (plantar fascia tear right heel) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.
Rockets: SF Trevor Ariza (hamstring) out.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
Who Guards Harden? - The Rockets are an offensive juggernaut and Harden is the ring leader. He’ll hit you with a 3-ball, take you off the dribble and he lives at the free throw line. Bogdanovic will like get the early call, but expect to see plenty of Garrett Temple as the Kings try to stay in the game early.
Score the Rock - Houston is a tough matchup for every team in the league, but they become even more difficult when you don’t make them take the ball out of the basket. They’ll kill you in transition, especially from the 3-point line. Score and get back is the name of the game.
Take a Break Tomorrow -- All-Star week starts on Thursday. Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox will all play in the Rising Stars game, but the rest of the team will have a week away from the action to decompress and prepare for the final two months of the season. The team needs to stay focused for another 48 minutes of hoops.
The Rockets hold a 1-0 advantage in the season series and have won six straight over the Kings. Houston hold a 124-88 advantage over the Kings all-time, and a 83-42 lead during the Sacramento-era.