Houston Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings game preview

It may not be the Kiss of Death, but I'll take it. - Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets look to even the season series with the Kings tonight in Sacramento.

How good are the Kings?

They're 20-36 so they must suck, right? Except they don't.

They're an enigma. You watch them play and you think, "This could be a playoff team." They have 3 starters who are way above-average at their positions, they have firepower off the bench, and they're young and experienced at the same time.

The Kings have wins over the Suns (twice), Mavs, Heat, Blazers, and the Bulls. They have a handful of close losses against good teams.

Oh, and they have beaten the Rockets twice.

They made the Rockets look silly in the first meeting and fought back in the second matchup. The third time around, Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins both got injured in the first half and the Rockets were able to blow them out at Toyota Center. Literally, the Rockets' best defense against the Kings has been injuring their two best players.

Needless to say, this is an important game for the Rockets. A win would take them to a season-high 21 games above .500 and guarantee at least a 3-2 road trip. With the Clippers off today and hosting the Rockets tomorrow, it's important not to look ahead since both teams have had the Rockets' number this season.

Tip off is at 9:00pm CST.

Matchups:

Point Guard: Patrick Beverley vs. Isaiah Thomas

Zeke 2.0 has killed the Rockets.

Beverthree (yeah that's terrible) hasn't shot well against the Kings at all. The Rockets need the Beverley from the Suns game, and even Bev admitted after the game that the Rockets would have lost that game a month ago. Role players stepping up will be huge from here on out.

Remember when Will Smith dominated Isaiah?

Fresh prince of belair- Will Smith vs Isiah Thomas (via ralphkevin15)

Advantage: Kings

Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Ben McLemore

I feel safe saying that Harden will have a better game against Sacramento than he did against PJ Tucker and the Suns.

Advantage: Rockets

Small Forward: Chandler Parsons vs. Rudy Gay

I still don't like the new-look Rudy Gay. I appreciated him way more when he was inefficient.

But it seems he's turned a corner and is now attacking the rim and taking smarter shots. That's a dangerous combination, but it begs the question: why now? What happened to transform Rudy Gay from Hollinger's nightmare into a Kings fan's wet dream?

Advantage: Kings

Power Forward: Terrence Jones vs. Jason Thompson

Rebound and Putback Slam Thompson. He always gets one.

And what is happening with Terrence Jones. He comes out hot, and then he fades. It's an issue, but as long as Donatas Motiejunas keeps playing the way he's playing lately, it's a problem that the Rockets can work around.

Advantage: Even

Center: Dwight Howard vs. DeMarcus Cousins

On Sunday, Cousins played 34 minutes, got to the line 12 times, scored 27 points, grabbed 9 boards, had 5 assists, and had 5 blocks. He finished with a ridiculous +36 and was outstanding.

I know Dwight Howard is pretty good too, but in a few years Daryl Morey might be opening his cap space for the Kentucky product.

Advantage: Even

Bench

Rockets: Jeremy Lin, Omri Casspi, Omer Asik, Donatas Motiejunas

Kings: Derrick Williams, Carl Landry, Reggie Evans, Quincy Acy, Ray McCallum, Aaron Gray

Advantage: Kings

Prediction: Rockets win 108-101.

Rockets vs Kings coverage

Sactown Royalty

Sohum's Prediction Game

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