You're probably thinking, "Hey AK, didn't these teams play two weeks ago?"
They did indeed. The Kings jumped all over the Rockets in the first quarter, and the rest of the game saw the good guys climbing back into the game slowly. Agonizingly slowly. It was one of those games where you sensed it by the second quarter: the Rockets were the better team, but the Kings were outplaying them. They wanted the loose balls, they stuck to their offense, and their defense, which is not usually very good, was doing more than enough to give the Rockets fits.
Give them a ton of credit. The Kings are playing spoiler now, just as they have done for the past few years. There's not much to play for except pride, but that group is still going hard. After all, that "never give up" attitude is the same quality that makes this Rockets team so much fun to watch. In previous years, going down big to a team, any team, meant defeat. Yeah, maybe we'd come back, but the heartbreak would be lurking near the end of the game.
Once again it seems the schedule makers have forgotten who the Rockets are. The Kings play late tonight in Los Angeles against the Clippers. Granted, LA to Sac-Town isn't a long way, but knowing that the Rockets have been in Sacramento longer than the Kings is a nice thought.
Tip-off is at 8pm CST.
Matchups after the jump.
PG: Goran Dragic vs. Isaiah Thomas:
Two weeks ago, it was Chandler Parsons who was finally being noticed around the league. Now it's Dragic. He went from "The Guy Who Beat the Spurs That One Time" to "HOLY CRAP THAT DUDE IS GETTING SOOO PAID NEXT YEAR!!!"
And he deserves all the credit there, certainly.
But I want to talk about Earl Boykins.
The average fan sees E-6 and go "He's short."
Even your more serious fan would say "He's short but fast."
But how many players exist who are 5-5, rapidly approaching their 36th birthday, on their 10th team in 12 years, and still contributing mightily to their team's success? I don't know why the team is still signing him to 10-day contracts, but I expect when this one runs out for him to get a prorated deal for the rest of the season. Yeah, he's not the typical backup, and I'd rather he didn't back up Lowry by himself next year, but can you think of a better third point guard out there?
As for Isaiah Thomas, it's about time he got fired from FIU. I mean, playing in the NBA and coaching a college team? After being a Hall-of-Famer to begin with? It was just not fair, and was probably a huge distraction for him during the season.
SG: Courtney Lee vs. Tyreke Evans:
C-Lee will have a tough assignment tonight. Evans can be a killer.
Oddly enough, his stats have gone down since his rookie campaign. He was injured for much of last year, so there was an excuse there. But it's still gone down this year. I guess it's because of the addition of Thornton and Cousins to the mix. I'd like to know what Kings fans think.
SF: Chandler Parsons vs. Francisco Garcia:
Marcus Thornton has missed the last three games with a bruised left calf. He's day-to-day as of this writing. If he doesn't play, it's a huge boost for the Rockets, as Thornton can create his own shots and cause general havoc for the Rockets defense.
Parsons with that three against the Lakers. Wowza!
Advantage: Rockets if no Thornton, Even otherwise
PF: Luis Scola vs. Jason Thompson:
Who was the impostor against the Lakers and what did he do with the Scola we are used to? You know, the one who gets nothing done in the fourth quarter?
Either way, I hope he doesn't blow it like Barty Crouch Jr. and let us/Dumbledore find the real Scola in his luggage case.
Yeah, I just went to Harry Potter-level dorkdom. I apologize. But not really.
C: Marcus Camby vs. DeMarcus Cousins:
Cousins thinks Blake Griffin gets away with everything too!
I love the guy so much more now.
He's still a head-case, but he sure can score a ton of points against us, like he did the last time.
Lakers: Chuck Hayes, Terrence Williams, Jimmer Fredette, Donte Greene
Rockets: Chase Budinger, Patrick Patterson, Samuel Dalembert, Earl Boykins
Kings: Marcus Thornton day-to-day
Rockets: Lowry out, Martin out
Prediction: Rockets 100-93
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