Houston Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings game preview

You know he wants this one. - Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets start their 3-game road trip tonight with a visit to Sacramento to take on the Kings.

Houston Rockets Tickets

Big game. Need it. It matters too much.

The Rockets will likely have both James Harden and Chandler Parsons back tonight as they start a 3-game road trip out West. Tonight's the Kings, Friday it's the Blazers, and Saturday it's the Nuggets for the second to last back-to-back of the season.

I've got the Rockets going 2-1 here, and that's exactly what has to happen. 1-2 won't cut it and drops the Rockets into dangerous territory. 0-3 means the panic button needs to be pushed. The teams behind the Rockets aren't losing unless they're playing each other right now. The Jazz, Lakers, and Mavs all got hot at the same time. That's bad news for the Bears Rockets.

But 2-1 keeps us afloat and headed to the playoffs. Tonight is step one: beating a team that you should beat. It's also a revenge game for the Rockets. When these teams last met in Sacramento, the Rockets played well but the Kings missed absolutely nothing late in the game. Also that game was before the Thomas Robinson trade.

And just in case anyone cares, I hope the Kings stay in Sacramento. The people of Seattle deserve a team, but if they get the Kings that would be the most hypocritical thing ever since they whined about how the Sonics were part of their identity as a city and shouldn't have been taken from them. I'm all for expansion, but not for taking away a team. It's not Sacramento's fault that the Maloofs (Malooves?) are idiots. They don't deserve this.

Tip-off at 9pm CST.

Other meaningful games before the Rockets play again on Friday:

Today:

Nuggets vs. Jazz (8pm CST)

Hornets vs. Warriors (9:30pm)

Thursday:

Mavericks vs. Nuggets (8pm)

PG: Jeremy Lin vs. Isaiah Thomas

Thomas absolutely carried the Kings late in the last meeting. He couldn't miss and the Rockets couldn't keep the shifty guard in front of them. Much like J.J. Barea, Thomas can dictate a game by his quickness when he's hitting his shots and getting to the rim.

It's imperative that the Rockets corral the young guard and put the onus on him to defend them at the other hand. Lin has to run about 8,000 pick-and-rolls tonight.

Advantage: Even

SG: James Harden vs. Tyreke Evans

Evans' totals are down across the board due to fewer minutes, but his shooting numbers are all more than respectable (48-33-78) and better than his career averages.

Harden's foot issues will be something to keep an eye on for the rest of the season.

Advantage: Houston

SF: Chandler Parsons vs. John Salmons

It's impossible to know how Parsons is feeling. He only got through half of practice yesterday and now

Advantage: Houston

PF: Greg Smith vs. Jason Thompson

I'm assuming Smith gets the nod again. Thompson is a handful and usually gets a lot of shots around the rim. He's young and athletic. This will be a great matchup.

Also, this matchup leads to today's poll question.

Advantage: Sacramento

C: Omer Asik vs. DeMarcus Cousins

When Cousins plays well, the Kings generally win. When he plays poorly and whines like a baby, they usually lose.

Hopefully Asik brings the pacifier tonight.

Also, if any Kings fans come over here I'd like to hear their opinions regarding DMC. The overall opinion I think is that he has potential but he's immature.

Advantage: Even

Bench:

The Kings will trot out Patrick Patterson, Chuck Hayes, Toney Douglas, and Marcus Thornton.

The Rockets have Patrick Beverley, Carlos Delfino, Thomas Robinson, Francisco Garcia, and Donatas Motiejunas.

Three of those Kings guys look awfully familiar.

Advantage: Houston

Prediction: Rockets pull out a gritty win, 108-103.

For a Kings perspective, check out Sactown Royalty

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