Highlights: Rockets drop another to Kings
The Rockets know they let yet another one slip away. They lost another one to a team that they feel like they should beat. However, in this case, they lost to a team that they’d already let one slip away against. For the second time this season, the Rockets lose to the Sacramento Kings, falling at home this time, 110-106.
The Kings are 2-0 against the Rockets and 8-20 against the rest of the league. Rudy Gay led the way for the Kings with 25 points, but it was DeMarcus Cousins down the stretch that got the win for the Kings.
James Harden carried the Rockets offense in the second half scoring 26 of the team’s 54 second half points and finishing with a season-high 38 for the game. But his final few possessions were forgettable.
After hitting a step back jumper to set his season high with 1:40 left in the fourth quarter, the Rockets had a 104-101 lead. Their next bucket would go in with 0:00.2 showing on the clock. In between the Kings scored nine straight points.
The Kings got a pair of Cousins scores sandwiched around a Harden 3-point miss and led 105-104. Following a timeout, Harden was looking to drive from the wing and had his pocket picked by Cousins, which led to a finish at the rim by Ben McLemore pushing the Kings lead to three.
Harden then committed his fifth turnover of the game, when he drove through the lane and charged into Cousins.
“I thought we had the game under control up until two minutes left and at that point, it’s just making winning plays,” Jeremy Lin said. “They made a lot of winning plays. Maybe everyone is going to blame James for his turnovers, but he kept us in the game and playing really, really well, especially in the second half.”
Lin finished with 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting, with a team-high six assists.
Houston was down three points with 30 seconds remaining and they appeared to be trying to get a stop and not foul, hoping to get the ball back still down three points.
But Dwight Howard was called for a foul on a driving Isaiah Thomas after 18 seconds elapsed off the shot clock. The Rockets were then forced to foul and after Thomas made one of two free throws, Harden would miss another 3-point attempt and that would end any hopes of a win on New Year’s Eve.
“We were unable to make enough plays defensively, they had a 30-point fourth quarter against us. We’ve played some really poor games and that was another one,” Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said. For the life of me, it’s hard to put your finger on it. It doesn’t feel like we’re in much of a rhythm. The last two home games we’ve gotten away with it and had a big fourth (quarter). You just can’t do that.
“We’ve got to come out with more thrust and more attack, defensively, too,” McHale said. “We’re not playing at a level every single night that we’ve got to play at and that’s just energy and effort and all those things.
“We have to be the aggressor, we can’t let teams get comfortable,” Chandler Parsons said. “We have to make unselfish plays on defense and offense. We have to prepare for every game no matter who we are playing, like it’s a really good team, a team that is capable of beating us.
“It’s a known fact we can lose on any given night and we can win on any given night. We have to figure out individually and collectively what we can do and look in the mirror and see how you can help our team win.”