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Houston Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings game preview

NBA: Houston Rockets at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings met, they played each other twice in three days in Sacramento. Tonight begins another two game series over three days, with both games in Houston. It feels like these double home games against opposing teams has become more commonplace since the COVID season, but this is the first instance I can rememember where all four games came in this manner.

The Rockets lost both of those games by 20+ points. In the first game, they led by a single point heading into the fourth quarter, but then they turned on the tank (aka stopped trying on defense) and gave up 41 points. The second game was close in the first half, but the Rocekts, and this will shock you, collapsed in the third quarter and gave the Kings a blowout victory. The first game was feisty, and it inevitably led to the scuffle between Malik Monk, Chimezie Metu, Tari Eason, and Garrison Mathews in the second game. Jalen Green and Jae’Sean Tate left the bench during the altercation, so each was suspended for a game.

That’s a common theme you see in the playoffs. Usually in the first game, there’s a feeling out process. Then in Game 2, the team that lost Game 1 gets more desperate and things can get a little testy. By Game 5, both teams hate each other. However, in the playoffs, everyone knows they can’t go too crazy since the league will come down hard on them. In the regular season, with the grind (and in Houston’s case, a losing grind) that players go through, it’s easy to get frayed and go at someone.

And that was “NBA scuffle psychology” with AK.

The Kings played last night in New Orleans and never led in a game they lost by 32. De’Aaron Fox has missed the last two games due to personal reasons, so that’s a big reason they’ve dropped both. He’s listed as day-to-day.

The Kings are in third place in the West, but as we’ve metioned before, it’s really tight in the West. So even in third place, the Kings are five games ahead of the 13th place Los Angeles Lakers. There’s a real chance that the final week of the NBA season has multiple big games every night that swing teams from the sixth seed to out of the playoffs and play-in entirely.

Finally, Domantas Sabonis is a deserving All-Star and it’s nice to see him get the recognition. And I’m not just saying that because he went to Gonzaga.

Tip-off is at 7pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest