Looking to forget all about their midweek trip to Mexico City, the Sacramento Kings are back in the states and ready to take on the Houston Rockets Saturday at the Toyota Center.
Once again, the Kings will play short-handed. Rookie Willie Cauley-Stein injured his right index in the final minute against the Celtics on Thursday and will miss the next 4-6 weeks with an open dislocation. Cauley-Stein has started 14 of 20 games for coach George Karl who has no choice but to mix up his starting lineup after finally settling on a starting five.
Houston is fresh off a big win against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. Veteran big man Dwight Howard sat out the game to rest and should be ready to play against DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings on Saturday evening.
The Rockets have struggled to find consistency in the season’s first 20 games. They fired coach Kevin McHale nine games ago, handing the reigns over to J.B. Bickerstaff who has rung up a 5-4 record in his first run as an NBA head coach.
Sacramento is playing the first night of a back-to-back and desperately need a win. They face off with the Oklahoma City Thunder and hope to do so with a win under their belt.
Rockets by 2.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
DeMarcus Cousins vs. Dwight Howard -- Howard sat out to rest Friday night like he did the last time these two teams met early in the season. Cousins is coming off one of his worst performances of the year against Boston and looking to get back on the winning trail. A well rested Howard versus a motivated Cousins makes for a great watch.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 7-13, fourth place in Pacific
Rockets: 9-11, fourth place in Southwest
Kings: F Omri Casspi (gastroenteritis) probable, C Willie Cauley-Stein (open dislocation right index finger) out.
Rockets: F-C Donatas Montiejunas (back) out, Sam Dekker (back) out.
The Kings are 0-1 against the Rockets this season and have dropped six straight overall, including three straight at the Toyota Center in Houston. The Rockets lead the all-time series over the Kings 122-87 and hold an 81-41 advantage during the Sacramento-era.