Houston Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings 12.23.19 Game Recap
Your resource for Sacramento Kings game recaps, analysis, stats, and thoughts! Go Kings!
The Kings were back in Sac-Town on Monday night to take on the Houston Rockets, who come in with 20-9 record.
Would the Kings be able to turn it around on their home floor after a terrible road trip where the Kings went 1-3?
The Kings played a terrible 1st and 3rd quarter, and spectacular 2nd and 4th quarter.
Bogdan Bogdanovich is out for a third straight game for the Kings.
The first quarter started off slow, with the Rockets getting out to a 13-4 lead. With two quick fouls, Richaun Holmes was forced to the bench.
The Kings fell down 26-14 mid-way through the quarter.
Sacramento made a little surge in the middle of the 1st thanks to smooth shooting and perilous penetration by De’Aaron Fox!
Defense at the end of the 1st quarter was poor for Sacramento. The Kings trailed at the end of the 1st quarter 37-21.
2nd Quarter Kings Resurgence
The 2nd quarter was much better for Sacramento. They were able to outscore Houston in the 2nd quarter 36-28, and come within 6.
Mid way through the 2nd the Kings cut the Rockets lead to 5. Bagley had a nice defensive stop, outlet to Hield for a 3 in transition. But Houston went on a little run at the end of the 2nd quarter for a halftime lead of 65-57.
Harden and Westbrook had a combined 33 points on 10-19 shooting. Maybe double one of those guys and let the ghost of the Pizza Guy (Ben McLemore) beat you instead?
Fox lead Sacramento in first half scoring with 10 points, followed by Barnes with 9.
Kings 3rd Quarter Woes
The Kings came out in the 3rd quarter and laid a big egg. The Rockets continued their 21-4 scoring run from the end of the 2nd quarter to the mid 3rd quarter.
Sacramento could not buy a bucket and missed 11 straight shots in the 3rd quarter. That streak was ended by a Fox rebound, push and tough euro-step layup to end the Kings scoreless streak.
The Rockets went up 82-61 after that scoring run. Coach Walton was forced to use multiple timeouts to try and get his squad back on track.
The 2nd timeout of the quarter lead to the Kings players being showered with “BOO’S” by the Sacramento faithful as they walked off the court.
Sacramento was outscored in the 3rd quarter 32-22.
Harden and Westbrook had a combined 51 points at the end of the 3rd. Compared to the Sacramento starters who had a combined 52 points…. UGH.
Houston led at the end of the 3rd quarter 97-79.
4th Quarter Comeback?!
Those Golden State fan boo’s would fuel some motivation in the Kings squad as they made a 4th quarter push to make the game close.
The Kings went on a 13-0 run mid-way through the 4th quarter, led by Fox and Bjelica. The Kings were able to get within 5 points at different points in the 4th. Sparked by Fox driving to the basket, pushing the ball and drawing fouls.
This game would be a much different story if Fox was able to make his free throws. He had many chances to make it a 1 possession game but missed 5 free throws in the 4th quarter, going 4/9 on the game.
With Cory Joseph fouling out half way through the 4th quarter the disgruntled Kings fans started chanting “Ref’s You Suck!”… I think they may have pronounced “Buddy” incorrectly though….
Sacramento could not close the gap at the end of the 4th like in their previous meeting with the Rockets.
A weird defensive miscommunication between Fox and Holmes on a Westbrook fast break lead to a corner 3 and the end of the Kings momentum.
Sacramento would pull within 9 and 7 points a few times but could not come any closer.
The Kings did win the 4th quarter scoring 25-16.
Sacramento fell to the Rockets 113-104. They are now 12-18 on the season but still only 1.5 games back of the 8th seed Blazers in the western conference.
“A 10- or 15-point lead was like a five-point lead back in the day,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said. “They got hot and they did what they were supposed to do. We made some mistakes but a win here is a good win.”https://www.espn.com/nba/recap?gameId=401161095
Kings Player Stats and Thoughts
De’Aaron Fox had his best game of the season. He scored a season high 31 points on 13-21 shooting. Adding in 9 rebounds, 6 assists in 36 minutes of action.
Holmes looked good again, despite being in foul trouble and committing 5 turnovers. He finished with 12 points on 5-8 shooting and 13 rebounds.
Get in my Belli
Bjelica only played 13 minutes up until 3:30 left in the 3rd quarter… not enough in my opinion. He was energetic and moving off the ball to create for the Kings on the offensive end. Belli was not in the starting lineup but gave the Kings the energy on both ends of the floor to try and mount a 4th quarter comeback.
The Rockets announcers were on the same page as me saying that they were confused why Bjelica wasn’t in the game. They mentioned his 3 point prowess, the need to run him off the 3 point line, and his improved offensive game outside of the 3 point shot.
I understand the need to play the young Bagley more to help him gain confidence and experience. Though, there is sometimes a lack of defensive presence when Bagley and Bjelica are on the floor together.
Coach Walton has used a lot of different lineups, but I think that Bjelica needs to be in more of them for the Kings to be successful.
Cory Joseph and Fox looked good on the floor together. With CoJo chipping in 9 points on 4-6 shooting and pulled down 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
The veteran Ariza had another good game, filling the gap when Barnes went cold in the 2nd half. Ariza had 12 points on 4-8 shooting, and added in 6 rebounds.
Hield had another dismal offensive game. He scored 10 points on 3-12 shooting, 1-8 from the 3 point line.
When Bogi comes back I vote for him to take Hield’s place in the starting line up. *GASP*
Kings Team Stats
The Kings were cold from 3 all night.
The Kings were 7-30 from three (23.3%) compared to Houston’s 15-39 (38%).
Sacramento also went 15-23 from the charity stripe (65.2%). They got to the line more than their season average of 14.2 per game, lowest in the league, but did not convert when they needed it most.
Sacramento led the rebound category at 49-40 and bested the Rockets in assists at 20-18.
Sacramento committed 19 turnovers compared to the Rockets’ 11.
The points in the paint battle went to the Kings by 62-46.
If the 3’s ever start falling again…. WATCH OUT!
Link to game stats: https://www.espn.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=401161095
Upcoming Action for the Kings
The Kings take on the 10-18 Minnesota Timberwolves at home on Thursday 12/26.
Sacramento NEEDS a win!
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