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Houston Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings game preview

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It's December 15, and the Rockets are trying to reach .500 again. They play the Sacramento Kings tonight.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

This is a huge game for Houston in a variety of ways. Let's talk about them.

1. They are now below .500. They don't want to be below .500.

2. This game will tell us a lot about Houston's psyche. The Rockets just got swept by an inferior team. Houston will either come out with a fire to get the bad taste out of their mouths or they'll implode and spiral back into awfulness.

3. Sacramento has had 4 days off. Last season, the Rockets played a back-to-back against an OKC team that had five days off coming into the matchup. The Rockets won that game, but Houston was at home for that contest. If the Rockets dig too big of a hole like they seem to always do, this game could get ugly in a hurry. Houston has every reason to walk into this game thinking "schedule loss," except for the fact that they can't afford a schedule loss.

4. Sacramento has also been dealing with the Rajon Rondo incident, which has received enough press that you certainly don't want to hear my take on it. Rondo killed Houston last week so the Rockets have to take advantage of his absence.Meanwhile, the Kings probably want to stop talking about that and just play some basketball. They know a few extra eyes will be on this game. Expect DeMarcus Cousins to look for payback after Dwight Howard manhandled him last time.

5. Remember how we lamented Houston's inability to take advantage of a weak early schedule? Well guess what folks. What goes around comes back around. If Houston doesn't get above .500 in the next two games (at Sacramento and at the Los Angeles Lakers), the road back to .500 becomes nearly impossible before January since the rest of the 2015 schedule goes like this: vs. Clippers, vs. Charlotte (fourth in the East and playing great basketball), at Orlando (always a torture chamber for Houston, plus the Magic are good), vs. San Antonio (Christmas game where Pop will probably play everyone), at New Orleans, vs. Atlanta, and vs. Golden State. So yeah, you gotta win these next two.

Luckily, Houston isn't playing Denver and won't see them again this season. Good riddance. That team just feasts on the Rockets and I hate them I hate them I hate them!

Tip-off is at 9pm CST on Root Sports and NBA TV.

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