Houston Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings game preview

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets and Sacramento Kings will take part in a New Year's Eve game tonight at the Toyota Center. The Kings won the previous meeting 106-91.

Now will you guys believe me when I say the Kings are good? After destroying the Rockets 106-91, the Kings have only won two games. One was the Magic, and the other was an overtime win over the Heat. They also have quality wins over the Mavs, Nuggets, and home-and-home wins over the Suns. This is a really good team. They are coming off a close loss to the Spurs in San Antonio where they led for much of the game.

The first time they matched up, the Rockets missed 16 free throws, 20 three-pointers, turned the ball over 17 times, and shot 41% from the field while giving up 52 points in the paint. That's just a recipe for disaster.

I think the Rockets will come into this game looking to make up for that loss and the loss to OKC two nights ago.

Houston will be playing their fifth game in seven nights, which is the heaviest the schedule can get over that time period. The good news is that the Rockets don't play until Friday, and then have off until the following Wednesday.

The Rockets have played a New Year's Eve game at home every year since 2003. They are 8-2, with both losses coming against the Golden State Warriors. This one is my personal favorite, especially since it held an extra-special meaning as my 21st birthday. I watched this game along with loved ones who really didn't want to be watching a basketball game. 106-91.

Houston Rockets Vs. Dallas Mavericks 12/31/09 (via texmex713)

Make sure you don't miss the game tonight since there's an early start. Happy New Year's from everyone at TDS and may 2014 hold even more happy surprises for our favorite guys in red! I already got one gift when Texas Tech held on to beat Arizona State last night.

My brother Rod wanted a shoutout today, so here it is. Love you buddy.

Tip off is at 6:00pm CST.

Matchups:

Point Guard: Jeremy Lin vs. Isaiah Thomas

Zeke 2.0 is averaging 19/6 and can get his shot whenever he wants. He's incredibly quick and reminds me a lot of Aaron Brooks.

I think he's going to be a very good player in the NBA for years to come.

Advantage: Kings

Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Ben McLemore

This is the kind of game where James Harden makes his money. The Kings don't have anyone that can really stop Harden, but they did a decent job of swarming him and taking him out of his comfort zone in Sacramento. He then twisted his ankle and shot two free throws on one leg. When he came back, he wasn't the same.

McLemore has to hope that there are enough touches for him with this team. He also probably wishes everyone would forget the time that LeBron dunked on him.

Advantage: Rockets

Small Forward: Chandler Parsons vs. Rudy Gay

There are rules when inefficient players take on the Rockets: they go against their normal style of play and only take efficient shots. Even though Rudy Gay took tons of jump shots when he was in Toronto earlier this season, when he played the Rockets as a member of the Kings he attacked the rim constantly and went 10-20 from the field.

Which Rudy Gay will show up tonight?

Advantage: Even

Power Forward: Terrence Jones vs. Jason Thompson

Thompson is athletic and tall (6 ft. 11 in.) and will probably give Jones fits on defense. He's always around the basket and comes up with at least one rebound-dunk sequence per game. He also runs the floor and gets easy dunks in transition.

He's also one of my favorite "Where did he go to college?" trivia questions. Answer is after the bench matchups.

Jones had the flu last time they matched up so this will be their first true battle.

Advantage: Kings

Center: Dwight Howard vs. DeMarcus Cousins

Cousins went 11-23 for 29/14 against the Spurs. While there are still questions about his attitude, there can be no doubts as to his talent. All of his numbers this season are higher than his career averages, and his shooting percentage is around 50%, which is great for a guy whose range extends out to 20 feet. His post game also looks polished.

I hope Dwight got some rest last night. Last time against the Kings, he got into foul trouble and that kept him from being too aggressive on defense. Once again, the Rockets have little to no depth here so they'll need Howard to be able to match minutes with Cousins.

Advantage: Even

Bench

Rockets: Aaron Brooks, Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi, Donatas Motiejunas

Kings: Derrick Williams, Quincy Acy, Travis Outlaw, Jimmer Fredette, Marcus Thornton

Advantage: Kings

Answer: Jason Thompson went to Rider University in New Jersey.

Prediction: Rockets give AK the birthday gift he really wants, win 108-95.

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