Preview: Sacramento Kings play first of two games vs. Rockets
Nov 3, 2023, 3:38 PM | Updated: Nov 4, 2023, 11:29 am
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
On the heels of a one-point loss in San Francisco, the Sacramento Kings will be back in action on Saturday night when they face the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center.
Sacramento (2-2) has lost two games this season–both against the Golden State Warriors–as they enter a three-game stretch that includes two matchups against the Rockets (1-3) before returning home to face the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
Following a 22-60 campaign in 2022-23, Houston has struggled out of the gates with its new core that includes prized offseason acquisitions Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks.
Can the Kings take advantage of a smooth portion of its schedule before heading into a big matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder next Friday?
Let’s take a look at some players to watch on Saturday in Houston:
Keegan Murray, Malik Monk and Sasha Vezenkov are locked in from deep here at Kings practice. pic.twitter.com/TOGNn0XR7n
— Frankie Cartoscelli (@FCartoscelli3) November 2, 2023
Sacramento Kings vs. Houston Rockets Game Info
When: 5:00 PM PST
Where: Toyota Center – Houston, TX
TV: NBC Sports California
Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Coverage starts at 5:30 PM on Game Night
Line: Kings -2.5, O/U: 225.5
Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Rockets coverage, beginning at 3:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 5:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Houston.
Can Keegan Murray find his shot?
Kevin Huerter’s struggles were highly criticized during the season’s opening week, but ‘Red Velvet’ has looked better over Sacramento’s past two contests.
While it appears that Huerter is working through his rough patch, Keegan Murray’s rough start to the season from beyond the arc continued in San Francisco.
Murray went four-of-15 from the field and missed all seven of his attempts from beyond the three-point line during the Kings’ 102-101 loss to the Warriors on Wednesday night, as he is now shooting 36 percent from the field and 27 percent from deep to open the season.
The shots haven’t been falling for Murray, but the second-year forward has picked up his rebounding to open up the season (7.5 rebounds per game) and is acting much more aggressively on the offensive end (14.5 field goal attempts per game; up from 9.8 in 2022-23).
Many of Murray’s looks have rimmed in and out or hit back-iron, and it’s likely just a matter of time before shots begin to fall for the reigning First Team All-Rookie forward.
Will the slump come to an end on Saturday in Houston?
Attack The Glass
Through four games of action, the worst rebounding team in the NBA is non-other than the Houston Rockets.
Houston (38.5 rebounds per game) will have its hands full with Sacramento (54.8 rebounds per game) as Domantas Sabonis will be on the attack for a big night on the boards.
Sabonis, who leads the NBA with 14.0 rebounds per game, averaged 20.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 10.0 assists on 58 percent shooting from the field during four matchups against the Rockets last season.
Expect the All-Star to be aggressive against Houston’s interior defense that allows 13 offensive rebounds per game (27th in the NBA).
- Sacramento, who was a top-five three-point shooting team in 2022-23, is currently 19th in three-point field goal percentage (33%) through four games.
- The Kings have won six-straight games against the Rockets. Their last loss: January 16, 2022 at Golden 1 Center
De’Aaron Fox (ankle sprain) is closing in on a return to action after the guard went through some on-court work following Thursday’s practice.
Fox is listed as out for Saturday’s game, but the All-NBA guard told reporters that he’s getting close to rejoining his teammates.
“I feel like I’m close,” Fox said following Thursday’s practice. “I never felt I would miss 2-3 weeks or anything like that, I knew it would take a few days, or a week or so.”
Fox is considered day-to-day, but a return on Monday is a possibility.
Trey Lyles (calf strain) will miss both games in Houston and has yet to appear in a regular season game.
Although Lyles has been going through workouts, he has yet to log a full practice and will not suit up until he goes through a full session with the team.
Lyles is considered day-to-day as he works himself back into game shape.
- Tari Eason – OUT (left lower leg stress reaction)
- Victor Oladipo – OUT (left patellar tendon repair)
- Amen Thompson – OUT (right ankle sprain)
Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule
- Saturday, November 4th – Sacramento Kings @ Houston Rockets – 5 PM PST
- Monday, November 6th – Sacramento Kings @ Houston Rockets – 5 PM PST
- Wednesday, November 8th – Sacramento Kings vs. Portland Trail Blazers – 7 PM PST
- Friday, November 10th – Sacramento Kings vs. Oklahoma City Thunder** – 7 PM PST
- Monday, November 13th – Sacramento Kings vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – 7:00 PM PST
** NBA In-Season Tournament Group Play