Saturday, January 23

Rockets host Kings again, two days after shootout win


Rockets first-year coach Stephen Silas earned his first career victory Thursday, a result that warranted an analysis of how Houston is improving and what steps are left for The Rockets to improve.

Silas acknowledged that The Rockets are a “work in progress” on defense. The pairing of All-Star guards James Harden and John Wall, which was first showcased after COVID-19 protocols sidelined Wall for The first two games, showed potential but requires furTher adjustments.

But one aspect of The Rockets’ 122-119 home win over The Sacramento Kings, whom The Rockets will host again on Saturday, needed only The most basic evaluation. With The Rockets trailing in The final five minutes, Harden took control and had a hand in The final 18 points for Houston as he scored 33 points and eight assists and led The way to victory.

” It felt so much better to be on his side than on The oTher side for years, that’s for sure,” Silas said. ” He’s an incredible talent. He can improve oTher players with his intelligence and knowing The angles and getting to The free throw line. I thought There were some chances he had that he didn’t get The call, but he stayed aggressive and shot 11 free throws, and Then all 3.

” He’s The best in The world on those 3-pointers. He’s one of The best players in The world, period. Seeing him up close and personal and that he does it on The team I’m training is incredible.”

Harden and Wall combined for 55 points and 17 assists with 11 turnovers. The Rockets are actively working to make The association work in terms of keeping Harden aggressive when Wall has The ball. There is no question of its effectiveness offensively when Harden has it.

What The Kings have established at this early stage of The season is an egalitarian approach to offense. Sacramento went back-to-back against The Rockets with six players averaging double-digit scoring, and Thursday produced three 20-point scorers while Buddy Hield added 19 points plus five team-leading 3-pointers.

That disinterested play has made The Kings a difficult team to defend, as at any crucial point in a game more than one option is capable of providing a key basket. The starting back court of De’Aaron Fox (22 points, six assists) and Hield shared The scoring load in The first quarter with The support of center Richard Holmes (22 points and 13 rebounds).

When The Rockets built a 10-point lead in The game in The third quarter, Fox and Harrison Barnes (24 points, eight rebounds) brought The surge back into contention and were instrumental in helping The Kings establish a seven-point lead. Halfway points. The final period.

Houston, armed with The best player on The court in Harden, found a way down The stretch. But The Kings have shown Their willingness to share The responsibility and have developed a plan that could make Them a viable threat for a postseason berth in The Western Conference.

” For us, for who we are as a team, this is how we have to play to have a chance to win,” Kings coach Luke Walton said. “So I was very happy to see that.”

–Field level media



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