Sacramento opened the season with three straight defeats in Texas, including a 104-101 overtime loss to Houston on Nov. 6. The Kings, however, have rebounded to win five straight and six of seven since that trip.
Sacramento improved to 5-0 at home, including 4-0 on the homestand, with an 88-79 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.
It’s been more than 2 1/2 years since an Eastern Conference team other than the Bucks won in Sacramento—and until the Kings woke up for a decisive rally, Milwaukee was ready to steal another one.
Peja Stojakovic scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and hit three 3-pointers during the Kings’ 18-2 run, but it didn’t begin until Milwaukee took a 65-58 lead with 7 1/2 minutes left.
After struggling to hit open shots while scoring 34 points in the first half, the Kings rolled up 39 in the fourth quarter.
“It was just as ugly playing it as it was watching it,” said Kings forward Chris Webber, who had 18 points and 14 rebounds despite shooting 7-for-22.
“We haven’t shot the ball this season like we did in previous years, but we’re going to get it back. Believe me, shooting is the one area you can guarantee the Kings are going to get better at.”
Sacramento has won 10 straight at home against Houston since a 107-93 loss on March 28, 1999.
The Rockets improved to 2-0 on their four-game road trip with a 97-93 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.
Tracy McGrady delivered late, making a 22-foot jump shot with 13.2 seconds left. He finished with 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting and 11 assists for Houston.
“I love being in that situation,” McGrady said. “I was struggling throughout the game but I knew if I got that opportunity I was going to knock it down and I did.”
“You can win games in several ways and tonight was one of those nights where I got my guys involved and they made big shots,” McGrady said.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 21): Rockets - 3rd place, 3 GB, Southwest Division. Kings - 2nd place, 2 GB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Rockets - McGrady, 21.1 ppg and 5.7 apg; Yao, 8.0 rpg. Kings - Webber, 19.7 ppg and 10.8 rpg; Bibby, 5.8 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Rockets, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 6; Rockets, 104-101, OT. At Houston, Ward made two 3-pointers in overtime, Yao scored 33 points and McGrady added 23 in his first home game as a Rocket. Bibby led the Kings with 31 points and seven assists.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rockets - 4-3 on the road; Kings - 5-0 at home.