For the second time in three days, the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings will face each other at Toyota Center down in Texas. The Rockets barely edged out Sacramento last Friday, but will they win in a more convincing manner this time around? Or, will the Kings tie their regular-season series up with Houston?
Catch this game live on Sunday, January 3, at 6 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: Houston Rockets (1-2, 1-0 at home)
A more complete Rockets team took care of business last Friday at home by downing the visiting Kings squad, 122-119. The Rockets failed to cover the spread, however, as 5.5-point home favorites. The Rockets have failed to beat the spread in both of their last two spreads, but it’s also worth noting that they are 6-2 against the spread in the last eight meetings with Sacramento, going back to 2018.
James Harden scored 33 points to go with eight assists and six rebounds in Houston’s win on Friday, as he played alongside John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Eric Gordon for the first time this season. Wall had 22 points and nine assists, while Cousins chipped in eight points in 14 minutes. Gordon had 17 points off the bench.
Gordon might not play this Saturday, though, due to left knee soreness. If he couldn’t give it a go, it will most likely just mean more shots for Harden, who is averaging 37.0 points on 52.5 percent shooting from the field.
As a team, the Rockets are third in the NBA with a 49.8 field goal shooting percentage.
ROAD TEAM: Sacramento Kings (3-2, 1-1 on the road)
The Kings have gone 1-2 in their last three games, but they are one of the hottest teams against the spread, thus far this season. The Kings have covered in four of five games, including the first meeting with Houston. Moreover, the Kings are 2-0 against the spread on the road.
That mildly surprising start to the season by Sacramento has something to do with rookie Tyrese Haliburton, who’s become a major rotation player for the team. However, Haliburton, who had 11 points off the bench in the loss to the Rockets, will not be seeing any action Saturday due to a wrist issue.
This recent development should result in more minutes on the floor for Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, and De’Aaron Fox. Barnes led the Kings on Friday with 24 points, while Fox and Hield had 22 and 19 points, respectively.
The key for the Kings is to get Marvin Bagley to start playing like a lottery pick that he is. Bagley only had four points and eight rebounds in 26 minutes on the floor against the Rockets the last time out.
The Rockets are starting to get their groove back. Even if Gordon doesn’t play, the combo of James Harden and John Wall in the backcourt plus the emergence of Christian Wood will be too much to handle for the Kings. The Rockets win this game, 121-114.