Sacramento Can’t Hold Off Houston, Harden In Fourth
The Kings will head into the new year with a 3-2 record
After coming back from a 10-point deficit, the Sacramento Kings could not withstand a 9-0 late run by the Houston Rockets, falling by a final of 122-119 on New Year’s Eve at Toyota Center.
De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield each had a chances to tie things up during the closing seconds, but neither could connect, giving the Rockets a narrow three-point victory.
With the loss, Sacramento falls to 3-2 on the young season.
Richaun Holmes had another strong game for the Kings, putting up a monster 22-points, 13 rebound double-double on 10-of-13 shooting from the field.
Holmes has been a force for the Kings this season, averaging 13 points and 9.4 rebounds per game while shooting over 60-percent to begin the year.
Along with Holmes, an unsung hero of the beginning of the season has been Harrison Barnes, who led all Kings scorers with 24 points on Thursday night.
Barnes has been fantastic from every angle this season, holding averages of 13.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists. His leadership has been apparent as well, something that does not show up in the box score.
De’Aaron Fox scored 22 points–his fourth game out of five with 20-points or more this season–to go along with six assists and four steals.
Buddy Hield scored 19 points, but struggled late as he couldn’t find his three-point shot during crunch-time. Hield finished the contest five-of-15 from three-point range.
Rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton shook off a sore wrist to hit a big three-point basket late, cutting the deficit to one-point with under a minute remaining in regulation.
Haliburton would finish with 11 points in the loss, hitting two of his four three-point attempts while swiping two steals.
Fresh off of his best game of the season, Marvin Bagley III struggled against Houston, finishing with four points and eight rebounds on one-of-nine shooting over 26 minutes. The 21-year-old turned the ball over three times, tied for the team lead with Nemanja Bjelica.
Bagley was not on the floor for the final period–as was the case in Tuesday’s win against Denver.
It was very obvious that Bagley was trying to do a little too much against Houston, losing his dribble several times while gaining possession in the post.
Rockets forward Christian Wood punished the Sacramento defense in the win, scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 boards. James Harden, who only contributed 10 points in the first-half, finished with 33 points.
All things considered, the Sacramento Kings will take a winning record into the new year.
Even thought the Kings couldn’t improve to 4-1 on the season, the game was there for the taking. Houston’s veteran presence was apparent, hoisting them over the young Kings in the closing minutes.
These are games that teams can learn from.
It will be interesting to see how Sacramento comes back in game two on Saturday. Can they make the proper and necessary adjustments needed to get out of Houston with a two-game split?
Sacramento and Houston will run it back on Saturday, with both teams facing off again at the Toyota Center.
Be sure to tune in for all of the action right here on Sports 1140 KHTK, starting with pregame coverage at 1:30pm PST with tip-off following at 2:00pm PST.