NBA Betting – Sacramento Kings at Houston Rockets
Zack GarrisonNo comments
Tonight, the Sacramento Kings (9-5) will meet the Houston Rockets (11-3) at the Toyota Center (8:00 p.m. Eastern).
With center Dwight Howard out indefinitely due to a strained right knee, the Rockets are having to find new ways to get it done. They dropped a game to the lowly Lakers last week without their defensive stalwart, but rebounded by beating the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks. The win over Dallas was particularly impressive, as Houston managed to keep the high-scoring Mavs to just 92 points without Howard’s post-presence.
Rookie Tarik Black has started in place of Howard in each of the last three games. No one expects Black to produce the same offense as Howard, but the rookie has averaged just seven rebounds per game and will need to be harder on the glass for the Rockets to sustain success sans D-12.
James Harden and Trevor Ariza have carried the offense over the last three games. Harden put up 32 and 36 points on the Mavs and Knicks, respectively.
On the other side of the floor, the Sacramento Kings continue to surprise. Pegged as long-shots to win the Pacific Division prior to the season, they have won three straight and sit just two wins behind the Warriors. Most recently, the Kings notched an impressive ten-point victory over the Pelicans in New Orleans. That came on the heels of double-digit wins over the Bulls and T-Wolves.
Center DeMarcus Cousins – the Western Conference Player of the Week – has been dominant at both ends of the floor. The big-man had 22 points and 14 boards in a dominant 103-88 win over the Bulls last week, helping the Kings cover as 1.5-point faves. He added 22 and 12 in the win over New Orleans, while holding early MVP-candidate Anthony Davis to just 14 points. Making the win over New Orleans all the more impressive, Sacramento got the job done without Rudy Gay, who averages 21.1 PPG.
Sacramento may be without Gay again tonight, as the small forward remains questionable with an Achilles injury. Point guard Darren Collison also has a quadriceps issue and may miss tonight’s tilt. If Gay and Collison can’t go, the Kings’ offense will suffer, as neither Omri Casspi nor Ramon Sessions have the talent to replace them.
Houston has won seven of the last ten meetings against Sacramento, including the last two, which were both 20-point-plus blowouts. The oddsmakers have the Rockets as 4.5-point favorites. If Howard, Gay, and Collison all can’t go, the under will be in play. But, at a low 191.5, the oddsmakers are attuned to the missing firepower.