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Game 27 Preview: Houston Rockets at Sacramento Kings

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Sweet win by the Rockets on Friday. Since the semester ended for me on Thursday, it was the first time since opening night that I was able to watch a game from start to finish while actually paying attention. And even though it was a yawner, I enjoyed all of it. It's fun to see us kill opposing teams.

Now, the Rockets take their show on the road. And they have to start winning road games if they want to get back in this race. This will be a good test of the Rockets' resolve. They'll have to figure out quickly that not every team is going to have the game Memphis had on Friday, and in fact I expect us to be sluggish out of the gate.

Defense will be the key for the Rockets for the rest of the season. I think it's become apparent that the Rockets can score with almost anyone. And if they can keep running the pick-and-roll and have people step up, the fourth quarter issues will resolve themselves. Also, Brooks coming back will help too.

Tyreke Evans missed the last matchup, and it showed. See how it affects the matchups after the jump.

Onto the matchups...

PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Beno Udrih:

Udrih has been inconsistent but is still shooting 49% and 13/4/3. Normally, Evans brings the ball down too so don't get bogged down thinking that Udrih or Evans is the point guard. In actuality, it's more like a couple of combo guards in the backcourt. At least, that's how I see it.

Um, Kyle Lowry is earning that paycheck. Wouldn't you agree?

I expect Brooks to come off the bench today, but it's possible that he starts.

Advantage: Rockets

SG: Kevin Martin vs.Tyreke Evans:

The Rockets haven't been able to stop anyone who was determined to get to the rim all season. Derrick Rose killed us twice. Kevin Durant did too in OKC twice. Finally, Rudy Gay has had his way with us too. I expect Evans to have a field day in the points in the paint department.

Advantage: Even

SF: Shane Battier vs. Donte Greene:

Last year, Battier blocked Evans a bunch of times. He'll get more chances tonight, as he'll probably see plenty of the second year guard.

Greene has been in and out of the lineup all season. He's been struggling recently, so he may not start here.

Advantage: Rockets

PF: Luis Scola vs. Carl Landry:

Jason Thompson is normally the starter, but he's out with stitches to the leg, so I assume Landry will get the call. I really don't know what's going on with Landry, but it's clear he hasn't been as effective in Sacramento. I gotta give this to Luis, who needs to start playing better on the road. His last two road games (at OKC and Milwaukee) have been duds, by his standards.

Advantage: Rockets

C: Chuck Hayes vs. DeMarcus Cousins:

Cousins may not start. He's questionable with a sore wrist and ankle. He had 19/16 against the Thunder on Friday, so I bet he wants to go. No clue though. Otherwise, Dalembert will start. And let's just say he probably remembers Jordan Hill.

Jordan Hill power slam over Samuel Dalembert (via clutchfansDOTnet)

Advantage: Even

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Bench:

Kings: Omri Casspi, Samuel Dalembert, Pooh (YES, POOH!!!) Jeter, Francisco Garcia, Luther Head

Rockets: Aaron Brooks, Courtney Lee, Brad Miller, Jordan Hill, Chase Budinger, Terrence Williams, Jared Jeffries, Ish Smith

Advantage: Even

Injuries:

Kings: Jason Thompson out, Cousins questionable.

Rockets: Brooks out, Yao out

Prediction: Rockets should win this

Rockets vs Kings coverage

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