The Rockets and Sacramento Kings had met twice this season, with the 15-25 Kings winning both, but on Wednesday night at Toyota Center the Rockets exacted a little revenge with a 119-98 win.
“In the last game (against Sacramento) they attacked us, they had us on our heals, and they got two wins against us,” Rockets center Dwight Howard said. “We wanted to come out and be aggressive from the jump and hit them first.”
Sacramento did lead for most of the first quarter, though the lead was never more than five, but at about the halfway point of the opening 12 minutes, Kings forward Rudy Gay tweaked his Achilles and left game for good. The Rockets capitalized at both ends, and after a quarter led 29-22.
“I thought we were settling for a lot and playing east and west,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “We told them to get to the hole and put pressure on the basket and they did.”
In the second quarter, the Rockets were able to grow the lead to double-digits, and with just over seven minutes left in the half, Kings center DeMarcus Cousins rolled his ankle, which ended his night. Houston led by 11 at halftime. Howard and James Harden combined for 33 of the Rockets 55 points.
Without it’s two leading scorers, the Kings scored the first bucket of the third quarter, but the Rockets went on an 18-6 run to balloon the lead to 21, and the Rockets lead never got below 13 the rest of the way.
Howard finished with 26 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks. He shot 10-of-13 from the field, but struggled at the charity stripe, draining just six of 17 attempts. Harden was only 7-of-16 from the field, missing all five of his three point tries, but he was a perfect 10-for-10 from the line. He finished with 24 points and nine assists.
Playing without Terrence Jones, Francisco Garcia, Greg Smith, and Ronnie Brewer, the Rockets only had seven players log more than 10 minutes, but Chandler Parsons and Omri Casspi stepped up with double-doubles. Casspi had a season-high 20 points to go along with a career-high 12 rebounds.
“(Casspi) played well,” Harden said. He made shots. He really got after them on the defensive end.”
In his second game back from a fractured hand, Patrick Beverly finished with six points, six rebounds, and eight assists. With him on the floor the last two contests, they Rockets have outscored their opponent by 57 points.
“I thought that Patrick, again, did a nice job of just being destructive defensively and moving the ball,” McHale said. “Simple plays, cutting through, making our offense look a lot smoother without having to dribble the ball and hold it.”
The Rockets have won three straight since Thursday’s collapse against Oklahoma City and will host Memphis on Friday night at Toyota Center.Follow @AdamSpolane
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