The Kings start the game in the worst possible way and concede a 13-0 in three minutes. Uninspired in attack and weak in defense, they let Christian Wood gain confidence (10 points in 5 minutes). It was the entry into play of Buddy Hield, author of 11 points in the first quarter, which gave a semblance of revolt and the Kings, at the end of the first quarter, limited the damage (21-29 ).
Again left behind in the middle of the second quarter (40-29), Alvin Gentry’s men finally managed to reverse the course of the first half under the impetus of De’Aaron Fox and Terence Davis. The two backs pick up the pace in attack and in their wake, the Kings stick a 31/15 to the Rockets to complete the half and join the locker room in the leader’s seat in the score (60-55)!
After the break, the two teams go blow for blow. The Jalen Green / Kevin Porter Jr / Christian Wood trio keeps pace for the Rockets while the Kings rely on Davion Mitchell, Buddy Hield and Terence Davis to fight back. Satisfied with the contribution of the three backs, Alvin Gentry does without De’Aaron Fox for the majority of the quarter. After 36 minutes, the Kings keep a very narrow lead (88-85).
The fourth quarter is marked by the expulsion of Fox eight minutes from the end, guilty of a flagrant foul on Garrison Mathews. Quite predictably, the loss of the leader rocked the Kings, who took the hits but resisted until “money-time” thanks to Buddy Hield and Davion Mitchell. But the Rockets come back to the charge, and with an award-winning shot from Kevin Porter Jr then a decisive “lay-up” from Eric Gordon, they secure the victory outside after a breathless “finish”.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
The expulsion of De’Aaron Fox. After having uNBAlanced in the air Garrison Mathews who went up to the “lay-up”, the point guard received a Flagrante 2 foul and was forced to leave his team with almost 8 minutes left to play. In his absence, the Kings held the shock for a few minutes before stammering their “money-time”.
Significant absences from the Kings. The locals have indeed played without Tyrese Haliburton, placed in solitary confinement during the day, and Marvin Bagley, hampered by shoulder pain and who had compiled 26 points and 13 rebounds against these same Rockets, two years ago. days.
✅ Buddy Hield. Initiator of the awakening of the Kings in the first quarter after a catastrophic start, the back was the most consistent player on his team. With 27 points (9/16), 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals, he delivered a complete game and was close to capsizing the Rockets in the “money-time”. The former resident of the Oklahoma university has not much to reproach himself for this meeting.
✅ Davion Mitchell. The rookie shone in his role as a spark off the bench. In addition to a Buddy Hield in the oven and in the mill, he displayed interesting ball carrier abilities. He finished with 16 points (7/12), 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals.
✅ Kevin Porter Jr and Christian Wood. The first compiled 23 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals, the second 23 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Definitely the strong duo of this Texan formation.
⛔️ The Kings fourth quarter. The dependence on De’Aaron Fox in hot moments was obvious during the “money-time”. If Buddy Hield briefly maintained hope, the Kings then collapsed after the expulsion of their leader, too little inspired offensively. They only scored 24 points at 35% on shots in this final quarter.
Sacramento (18-28): Wednesday reception of the Pistons
Houston (13-32): Wednesday trip to Salt Lake City to play the Jazz