The Kings were on a second night of a back-to-back and came into Houston visibly tired and offered the Rockets little resistance, as Houston worked on a few aspects of their game that have been slipping in recent weeks.
First, their defense stepped up, holding the Kings to just 34.9 percent shooting from the field in addition to the low score. Then their bench, such a big part of the torrid Houston start this year which had slumped lately, got back in the swing of things, combining for 46 points, and then the pick and roll returned as a devastating weapon, as well. James Harden was feeding Clint Capela and Nene Hilario with effective regularity, though a tired and inferior Sacramento team isn’t exactly an elite measuring stick.
The Rockets did still shoot poorly overall from downtown, going just 14-45 collectively. Still, a big win is a big win.
The Beard finished with just 10 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists in 32 minutes tonight, as the Rockets got the majority of their scoring elsewhere. Houston was led by Ryan Anderson, who had another big night with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists, and the big man is really catching his stride after a relatively slow start to the year.
The Rockets also got 17 points from Eric Gordon, 12 points and 11 rebounds from Clint Capela, and 11 points from Nene in just 13 minutes of action. It was the Brazilian veteran’s play against a disinterested and lackadaisical DeMarcus Cousins early on that set the tone for the remainder of the night for the Rockets.
Boogie finished with just 16 points and 7 rebounds on 5-16 shooting, as he was mostly held in check by Nene and Capela and played just 25 minutes for the Kings. Sacramento also got 12 points from Kosta Koufos, 10 from Anthony Tolliver and 10 from Willie Cauley-Stein in falling to 19-30 on the year.
The Rockets, on the other hand, move to 36-16 for the season and start their four-game home stand off on a positive note with an easy victory on cruise control. The Rockets really needed the positive mojo and an easy night to get their legs back after a grueling first half travel schedule began to bog the team down in mid January.
Their time at the Toyota Center is about to get more difficult, however, as the 28-20 Atlanta Hawks along with former Rocket Dwight Howard are slated to come to Houston on Thursday night. The Hawks already defeated the Rockets handily earlier in the year, beating Houston 112-97 in the ATL, so the good guys will be looking for the season split and also for their first consecutive victory since their nine-game streak ended on January 11th.