The Rockets are hoping the third time’s the charm as they face the Sacramento Kings for the third time this season still looking for their first win against them. Houston was beaten soundly in Sacramento 106-91.
Then they lost to the Kings here in Houston on New Year’s Eve, 110-106. The most recent loss stings both because it’s the one more fresh in their minds, but they also held a three point lead with 99 seconds left, but were outscored 9-2 down the stretch.
“We’ve never played well against them,” Chandler Parsons said. “It’s definitely in the backs of our minds that we’ve lost to them twice. They are a capable team, they don’t have the best record, but they are very talented. They are a big isolation team, where they play a lot of one-on-one. They have three guys that can score 30-plus any given night. We have to come prepared to play defense and understand we can score on them, we just have to get stops.
“They are a tough matchup team, like with Rudy Gay, he’s a big isolation guy, can score the ball. Isaiah Thomas pushes the ball and Demarcus Cousins is one of the most skilled big men in the league,” Parsons added. “When they space you out, it’s tough to guard those guys one-on-one. They don’t allow you to help too much. We’re 0-2 against them, we know that they can beat us.”
That trio of Gay, Cousins and Thomas is averaging 62.5 points per game against the Rockets, while shooting 48 percent from the floor. Gay will actually be facing the Rockets for the fourth time, since he played against them earlier this season while with Toronto, scoring 29 points in the Rockets, 110-104 double-overtime victory. The Kings are one of two teams in the NBA with three players averaging at least 19 points per game, with Cousins at 23.1, Gay at 21.0 and Thomas at 19.5 points per game, respectively. The Warriors are the other.
“They just played harder than we did the last two games (we faced them),” Dwight Howard said. “If we want to beat these guys, we need to come out from the beginning, set the tone and get the win. We have to come out, play hard, run the floor, play inside out and we should win this game.”