Kings-Rockets Preview


It wasn't long ago when newly acquired Rudy Gay sparked a victory over the Houston Rockets in his home debut with the Sacramento Kings.

Given their frustrations on the road, the Kings aren't likely to match that performance in Houston.

Sacramento will try to avoid its sixth loss in seven games away from home while the Rockets seek their 12th win in 14 home games Tuesday night.

In his first home game after being acquired from Toronto, Gay walked off the court to a standing ovation after his 26 points led the Kings to a 106-91 victory over Houston on Dec. 15.

He shot 10 for 20 and added five rebounds, four assists and four steals as Sacramento (9-20) won for only the third time in 12 meetings with the Rockets (21-12).

Gay is averaging 19.3 points in nine contests with the Kings after scoring 19.4 per game for Toronto, but he's been far more efficient with a 48.1 field-goal percentage. He was shooting a career-worst 38.8 percent in 18 games with the Raptors.

With 24 points in a 112-104 loss at San Antonio on Sunday, Gay has scored at least 20 in four of six road games for the Kings. Sacramento has dropped five of those contests, however, and has a Western Conference-worst 3-9 road record.

After the Spurs went on a 23-8 run to close the game, shouting could be heard behind the closed doors of the Kings locker room.

"Sometimes people get a little frustrated," coach Michael Malone told the league's official website. "We're fine. We're still united."

Sacramento faces another difficult road test against the Rockets, who have won three straight and 10 of 12 meetings on their home floor.

Houston, though, is hoping to regroup after having its three-game winning streak snapped with a 117-86 loss at Oklahoma City on Sunday.

James Harden had a season-low eight points while missing 7 of 9 from the floor for the second time in three games. He twisted his ankle in the first matchup with the Kings but stayed in to finish with 25 points.

In the most recent meeting with Sacramento in Houston, Harden scored 29 on 11-of-16 shooting with nine assists in a 121-100 win April 14.

Dwight Howard also is coming off a subpar performance with nine points and nine rebounds Sunday, three days after finishing with two and six in a 100-92 win over Memphis.

''We just had a tough time making shots,'' Howard said after Houston shot 36.5 percent. ''That happens. We've got to come out better. We've got to find a way to get ourselves going. That's it.''

Howard contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds in the first meeting, while DeMarcus Cousins finished with 21 points, 10 boards and five assists for Sacramento.

Cousins has averaged 26.7 points and 15.0 boards in the last three games, and Isaiah Thomas has scored 23.3 per game while hitting 14 of 26 from 3-point range in the past four.

Though the Kings limited the Rockets to a 41.3 field-goal percentage in Sacramento, they've given up an average of 112.3 points on 51.1 percent shooting over their last six games.

Houston has scored 107.0 per game in its last 13 at home.