Gametime: 7:00 pm PT
Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA
Broadcast Information: KHTK Sports 1140 (Radio), Comcast SportsNet California (Local Television)
Sacramento Kings Projected Starters (20-36)
Houston Rockets Projected Starters (38-18)
PG: Patrick Beverley
SG: James Harden
SF: Chandler Parsons
PF: Terrence Jones
C: Dwight Howard
What to watch
1. DeMarcus Cousins vs. Dwight Howard
Cousins is still a bit beat-up, but the Kings’ starting center seems to rise to the challenge each team he faces Howard this season. In their first two matchups, Cousins led the Kings to two victories, averaging 19.0 points, 13.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, while holding Howard to 14 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest. Cousins went down with a sprained left ankle after just nine minutes of action in game three and the Rockets went on to roll the Kings. If Cousins can get Howard into early foul trouble, the Kings stand a very good chance of taking the season series, 3-1.
2. Which Kings team shows up?
In the last two games, we have seen two completely different Kings teams. On Saturday against the Celtics, seven Kings scored in double figures on the way to a 105-98 victory. In Sunday’s 109-95 win over the Nuggets, Thomas, Gay and Cousins set a new Sacramento-era record for a trio of Kings players when they scored 92 combined points. Will it be a team effort or the three-man wrecking ball?
3. Can Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum settle into their positions?
McLemore has played a lot more minutes this season than McCallum, but neither rookie has had that moment when the game begins to slow down. With just 26 games remaining, it is time for both of these young players to start contributing on a nightly basis. If not, Pete D’Alessandro will have a few more tough decisions to make this offseason.