Houston Rockets

Kings vs. Rockets watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

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Kings vs. Rockets watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

There is no let-up in the Sacramento Kings' schedule.

After a tough battle Friday night in Memphis, the Kings jump back into the fray Saturday night for a back-to-back road conclusion against the Houston Rockets.

De’Aaron Fox posted a 23-point, 10-assist double-double in the loss to the Grizzlies, but like the rest of his teammates, he had issues holding onto the ball. Fox was responsible for six of the team’s 21 turnovers, which proved too much to overcome.

Houston struggled early in the season, but since sending Carmelo Anthony away, the Rockets are on a roll. They have rattled off three consecutive wins to climb back to .500, including a 21-point win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

Pregame show on NBC Sports Bay California begins at 4:30 p.m. PT, with tip-off scheduled for 5.

To watch on the new MyTeams app, click here.

The Kings return home Monday to host the Thunder before heading back out on the road Wednesday to face the Utah Jazz.

Line

Rockets by 12

Projected Starting Lineup

Kings
PG De’Aaron Fox
SG Buddy Hield
SF Iman Shumpert
PF Nemanja Bjelica
C Willie Cauley-Stein

Rockets
PG Chris Paul 
SG James Harden
SF James Ennis
PF P.J. Tucker
C Clint Capela

Injury Report

Kings
C Kosta Koufos (right calf strain) OUT.

Rockets
C Nene (calf strain) OUT, PG Brandon Knight (knee) OUT.

Rotation Outlook

Kings
Coach Dave Joerger continues to move things around in his rotation. After averaging more than 22 minutes per game through the first 14 games of the season, including two starts, Justin Jackson received the dreaded DNP-CD in Memphis.

Troy Williams picked up 18 minutes in Jackson’s place and continues to produce when given an opportunity.

Harry Giles made a second consecutive appearance, filling in for the injured Kosta Koufos.

Bogdan Bogdanovic did not appear on the injury report, and he has been cleared to play in back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Rockets

Coach Mike D’Antoni’s team finally is waking from its early season slumber. The Rockets made plenty of roster adjustments in the offseason, allowing rotational players such as Trevor Ariza, Luc Mbah a Moute and Ryan Anderson to leave via free agency or trade.

James Ennis is starting alongside P.J. Tucker at the three, giving the team a pair of defensive-minded forwards.

Eric Gordon is starting to heat up as the anchor of the second unit.

Two positives, two negatives from Warriors' 21-point loss to Rockets

Two positives, two negatives from Warriors' 21-point loss to Rockets

HOUSTON -- Shooting poorly, committing a series of ghastly turnovers and lacking verve, the Warriors were at their worst Thursday night in Houston.

They lost big, 107-86, to the Rockets and had no immediate answers.

Here are two positives (yes, two) and two negatives culled from the defeat:

NEGATIVES

The All-Stars were woeful

With Stephen Curry out, the bulk of the production falls upon Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. All three came up short.

Durant scored 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting, 0-of-2 from deep and 8-of-8 from the line. He grabbed five rebounds, with two assists and two turnovers. He was minus-11 over 30 minutes. His defense was too often casual.

Green had played only once in 11 days and looked the part. The Rockets dared him to shoot and he was scoreless (0-of-3, 0-of-2 from deep). His five assists were more than offset by five turnovers. He said he was “horrible.” He was.

It’s a must that Thompson scores, and he managed only 10 points (5-of-16, 0-of-5 beyond the arc). He didn’t get many clean looks, so he forced a few shots. Worse, he committed three turnovers without an assist.

Explains a lot, eh?

Something in the air

The Warriors clearly weren’t locked in. It was the third game in four nights, each game in a different city, this one in a different time zone.

Those were factors, perhaps, but the joyless buzz of the week created by the Durant-Green quarrel seemed to be evident in the team’s failure to put together stretches of strong play. The Warriors looked less like a team prepared to destroy an opponent than a team trying to make it through the night.

There was the cascade of turnovers, giving the Rockets 29 points (the Warriors forced only eight, worth 7 points). There was an utter lack of rhythm, some of which can be attributed to Houston’s keyed-up defense and some of it to experimental lineups that had mixed results.

The challenge falls on coach Steve Kerr and his staff, as well as the team’s star players. It may take time. Until they get past this, the Warriors will be vulnerable.

POSITIVES

No signs of irritation between Durant and Green

Durant still is bothered by being publically upbraided by Green. The Warriors were bothered enough by it to suspend Green for one game.

Because of that, all eyes were on them as they took the court for the first time since their late-game argument on the bench that continued in the locker room. They passed the eye test.

[POOLE: The anguish of Kevin Durant now dealing with more drama on the Warriors]

Durant’s second bucket, a dunk 68 seconds into the game, came off a feed from Green. There were moments when the two smiled in the wake of miscommunication on the court and they shared a laugh on the bench.

There was no sign of annoyance. Rather, it appeared they went out of their way to maintain a professional veneer. That’s sufficient for now.

Evans gets his first splash

Rookie guard Jacob Evans III had played a total of 10 minutes in the team’s first six games this month. He played 11 on Thursday. Maybe that, along with a stint with G-League Santa Cruz last week, helped.

The Cincinnati product made his first 3-pointer of the season, draining it from the right corner with 3:33 remaining in the second quarter. There was no celebration.

Evans had taken only two shots from deep before Thursday. He was 2-of-11 overall from the field before going 1-of-3 on Thursday.

The rookie plays solid defense. But he’ll have to make a few shots to get floor time. Maybe this will get him going.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from blowout loss to Rockets

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from blowout loss to Rockets

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON -- The effort was there, though execution and shooting mostly failed to materialize for the Warriors on Thursday night.

The result was a 107-86 loss to the Rockets at Toyota Center. The Warriors (12-4) have lost three of their last five, while the Rockets (7-7) reached .500 for the first time this season.

The Warriors shot 42.1 percent from the field and committed 17 turnovers, off which Houston scored a whopping 29 points.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Quantity trumps quality from deep

The Warriors have been adamant that they’re not going to increase their output of 3-point shots simply because most of the NBA is trending heavily in that direction. They want “quality” shots, no matter the distance.

That approach is a factor in the Warriors entering the game shooting an NBA-best 41.8 percent from beyond the arc but ranked 19th in attempts.

The Rockets, by contrast, lead the league in attempts from deep. They aim to shoot 3-balls by the dozen -- per quarter -- and that was of massive benefit in this game.

Houston was 16 of 47 from deep, while the Warriors were 4 of 18. They didn’t make their second triple until inside the final 20 seconds of the third quarter.

No matter the quality of the shots, it’s tough to overcome that 48-12 scoring disadvantage.

Lineup change has mixed results

Though Quinn Cook started at point guard in all three games since Stephen Curry was sidelined, Warriors coach Steve Kerr took a look at the Rockets and decided to make a change, ostensibly to improve his defense.

Enter Andre Iguodala, who made his first start of the season.

Iguodala’s length, along with that of Klay Thompson, probably is the best defensive backcourt the Warriors can offer, certainly is against a Houston team that has James Harden and Chris Paul at guard.

The backcourt, however, had its offensive challenges on this night. Though Iguodala has been shooting well of late, he attempted just four shots, making two.

The absence of Cook for much of the game was missed insofar the Warriors weren’t able to consistently stretch the floor.

The defense, however, was solid. James Harden and Chris Paul shot a combined 12 of 33 from the floor.

They needed more from Thompson

With Curry out, the Warriors will look for offensive punch from another source. One such source is Thompson, a remarkable shooter who on this night did not deliver at the needed rate and has fallen into a spell of futility.

Thompson had eight points through the first three quarters and finished with 10 on 5-of-16 shooting over 30 minutes. He was 0 of 5 from beyond the arc.

Thompson is now 37 of 86 (43.0 percent) from the field and 10 of 33 (30.3) over the last four games.

He’ll keep shooting because it’s what he does best on that end of the floor. But his scoring efficiency is missing when the Warriors are most desperate for it.

Until Thompson’s shots start dropping, scoring will continue to be a struggle for the Warriors.