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Rockets hold onto 7th spot, run past Kings

The SportsXchange

SACRAMENTO -- The Houston Rockets remained in sole possession of the seventh seed in the Western Conference with a 112-102 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night at Sleep Train Arena.

"That was a really disappointing loss for our basketball team," Sacramento coach Keith Smart said. "I understand that Houston came out with a sense of urgency, but I thought that we still had an opportunity to play great."

Chandler Parsons scored a game-high 29 points for the Rockets as Houston remain a half game behind Golden State for the sixth and last open spot in the West playoff hunt with seven games left in the regular season.

"Chandler is a guy that moves very well around the ball," Smart said. "He's never in the same spot. He cuts hard to the basket and plays hard. ... He's a very high-energy guy."

The Rockets (42-33) won their third consecutive game. The loss was the second in a row for Sacramento (27-48) in the first two games of a five-game home stand for an organization awaiting word on the future of the franchise.

The game was played on the same day that city officials traveled to NBA offices in New York in an attempt to convince the league's owners to keep the team from being sold to a Seattle group and moving the franchise to the Pacific Northwest.

On the court, the Kings got within three points at 96-93 with 6:54 left in the game on a layup by DeMarcus Cousins.

But Houston finished the game on a 16-9 run, including a 27-foot 1

3-pointer by Jeremy Lin that opened the Houston lead to 109-101 with 2:29 left.

Lin finished with 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting and had a game-high 10 assists for his ninth double-double of the season.

"I thought (Wednesday) was one of our most unselfish games that we've played," Lin said. "Just letting shots find players. We had a lot of extra passes tonight. We needed 112 points on the road, we'll take that."

Houston had 32 assists to just 19 for Sacramento. The total was three shy of the season-high for the Rockets.

Tyreke Evans scored 16 of his 22 points in the third quarter for Sacramento.

"(The Kings) have a kind of high-octane offense," Houston coach Kevin McHale said. "They started hurting us for a while on just pick-and-rolls. Tyreke Evans was just playing downhill and getting to the foul line."

Houston opened up the game on a 20-11 run before the Kings tied it in the first quarter at 22-22.

"(Houston) just made some shots," Kings forward Jason Thompson said on the Rockets' hot start. "I don't think it was us not playing aggressive defense or anything like that. But for the most part we came back into the game and it was going back and forth."

Sacramento guard Isaiah Thomas credited five fourth-quarter turnovers as a contributing factor the Kings inability to get any closer than three points in the final quarter.

"By the fourth quarter we were just trying to be very aggressive, just trying to make plays," Thomas said. "We knew we were down and time was ticking so that's probably half the reason why we had those turnovers in the fourth-we were just trying to basically get back in the game."

Francisco Garcia played the first game of his eight-year career as an opposing player at Sleep Train Arena. The forward played his first 7 1/2 seasons for Sacramento before being traded to the Rockets on Feb. 20.

Garcia came into the game late in the first quarter to a loud ovation from the Sacramento crowd and finished with three points in 12 minutes.

"It's unfortunate for him to be in another uniform, but I'm happy for him and happy he's in a good situation," Thompson said of his former teammate. "I'll always wish him the best."

NOTES : The Kings fell to 19-18 at home. Sacramento has lost three consecutive home games. ... The Kings have scored 100 or more points in 21 of the last 25 games and 12 of the last 13 at home. ... Houston evened the season series against the Kings at 1-1. The two teams meet one more time in Houston on April 14. ... Terrence Jones recorded his first double-double with 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. ... Marcus Thornton scored 21 points off the bench for Sacramento. This was Thornton's 14th 20-point game this season. ... Thompson recorded his 11th double-double for Sacramento with 17 points and 15 rebounds. ... Houston continues its road trip Friday at Portland; Sacramento will host Dallas the same night. ... The announced attendance was 12,377. ... Former Kings and Rockets center Brad Miller sat courtside near the Houston bench.
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