August 9: Houston Rockets versus Sacramento Kings
The Rockets enter play with the 4th best record in the Western Conference at 43-25. They are coming off a 113-97 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Kings are 13th in the conference with a 29-40 mark and look to rebound from a 119-106 loss to the Nets. Each team has one a game in the head-to-head matchup this season. Houston is a 4 ½ point favorite with an over/under of 231.
Comparing the teams statistically, the Rockets are a high-scoring powerhouse, ranked 3rd at 118.4 points per game. Sacramento struggles at times offensively, ranked 22nd at 109.7 points per game.
The Kings are the better defensive unit in terms of points allowed, giving up 111.8 per game compared to 114.6 for the Rockets. The teams are nearly identical in terms of turnovers and three-point field goal percentage, while the Rockets hold a 44.5 to 42.6 rebounding edge.
Houston is led by the dynamic duo of James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Harden, a top MVP candidate, is averaging 34.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game.
Wesbrook adds over 27 points, eight rebounds, and 7.1 assists. Clint Capela is the big man underneath, adding 14 points and 14 rebounds.
The Rockets could be without Eric Gordon’s 14.5 points per game since he is day-to-day with an injury. Robert Covington, Danuel House, and Ben McLemore all are legitimate three-point threats off the bench, adding to the Rockets’ depth.
Aaron Fox is the top scorer on the Kings, dropping 21 points per game. He also leads the team in assists and nearly seven per contest. Bobby Hield is a reliable second option for the Kings, hitting 39 percent from beyond the arc and averaging 19 points per game.
Bogan Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley, Richaun Holmes, and Nemanja Bjelica (42 percent from three-point range) round out the Kings who average at least 10 points per game. Note that Holmes and Kent Bazemore are day-to-day with injuries.
Sacramento has some solid top end players, but none are of the caliber of Harden and Westbrook. The Rockets have too much firepower for the Kings to keep up.
Sacramento could keep this close for some time, but the Rockets will pull away. Look for Houston to win and cover. Pick the “over” in a high scoring, entertaining contest