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Houston Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings game preview

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NBA: Sacramento Kings at Charlotte Hornets Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, the Rockets play at “Toyota Center.” Anyone heard of that place? Which of the other 29 teams play there?

Also, what does it mean when the Rockets aren’t on a back-to-back but the other team is on a back-to-back? Someone is getting fired, right? Because that cannot be accepted under this regime of schedule makers!

In all seriousness, the Rockets are finally getting a bit of schedule luck, and boy do they deserve it. They’ve played the most games in the NBA and the most road games of any of the 30 teams. The good news for Houston is that they only have 12 road games left. The bad news is that among those 12 are trips to Oakland, San Antonio, Charlotte, Denver on a back-to-back, and the Clippers twice. Three of the 12 will be on the second night of back-to-backs.

It’s no surprise that the Rockets look exhausted. Sure, they aren’t running the “seven seconds or less” offense, but they’re consistently playing teams with up to five fewer games on their legs and of course most have come on the road in front of hostile crowds. Ryno had the flu and Eric Gordon has had various ailments. Patrick Beverley’s wrist probably isn’t 100% yet. And Clint Capela looks better and better every game, but is still not at the level he was before he broke his fibula.

DeMarcus Cousins is the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week and the Sacramento Kings are just three games out of a playoff spot. For a team that’s bashed consistently for having a dysfunctional franchise, a playoff berth would go a long way to restoring some respect to this once-proud franchise.

DMC had 46 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists on 11-16 shooting in 32 minutes before fouling out last night against the Sixers in Philly.

Bigs that can stretch the floor have murdered Houston over this recent poor stretch, and Cousins fits the bill there as well. When he sits, the Kings will rely on Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein. The Kings unfortunately lost Rudy Gay to an Achilles tear a few weeks ago, so they’re depending on Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Darren Collison, and others to pick up the slack. So far, not so good. However, the Kings did recently go 3-2 on the last five games of a grueling seven-game road trip, where they picked up wins over Charlotte and Cleveland.

Sometimes, the first home game after a road trip is the toughest. The team hasn’t completely adjusted to home and life and are probably still tired. I expect a slow start but nevertheless, this is a game Houston should win.

For our Kings video, we’ll go with a Jason Williams mixtape from his time with the Kings. If you never got to watch him play, I’m sorry. The dude was just filthy, and he embarrassed at least two opposing players every night. He was a pretty awful shooter, but just imagine if Ricky Rubio had better handles and made “Holy crap wow!” passes every night and you’ll get the idea. If you want a longer video with highlights from throughout his career, here’s one (video is SFW).

Tip-off is at 7pm CT.