Rockets 135, Kings 128 - Rockets Cruise to Victory in Sacramento

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After resting Clint Capela in Friday’s loss to the Pistons, Mike D’Antoni decided to rest Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, and Nene in Sunday’s matinee contest in Sacramento. This allowed for Troy Williams to get another start, and for rarely seen commodities in Bobby Brown, Chinanu Onuaku and Isaiah Taylor to get some run.

The Rockets came out firing on all cylinders, hitting eight of their first nine three-point attempts and finishing the opening period having shot roughly 60% from the field. Ryan Anderson, who saw less restriction on his minutes compared to Friday, stayed ablaze from beyond the three-point line; after hitting three of his five attempts in just 13 minutes on Friday, he hit his first six attempts from downtown and finished with 21 points on 77.8% shooting (75% from three).

There wasn’t a lot of defense to be played in this game, as the Rockets were up 78-62 by halftime and had put up 107 points by the end of the third period. Houston’s shooting percentage basically never dipped below 50% and six Rockets scored in double figures (Patrick Beverley was one point shy).

James Harden was his usual, unbelievable self, but major contributions from Ryan Anderson, Clint Capela, and Lou Williams – players who will be key in Houston’s potential Playoff success – were really encouraging. In addition to Anderson’s incredible shooting, Capela scored 18 points on perfect shooting from the field, and Lou put up 18 points while running the second unit (albeit, with bad shooting percentages).

The Rockets play their final road game of the regular season in Los Angeles on Monday night, as they take on a Clippers team still vying to secure home court advantage for the first round of the Playoffs.

Game Ball

This is a segment of the game recaps that will give the proverbial game ball to a player that proved to be most valuable to the Rockets on a given night. This award won’t necessarily go to the player that puts up the best numbers, but to the player that made the greatest impact on the team – tangible or intangible.

Sunday’s game ball goes to James Harden.

On a night when a certain ‘brodie’ broke the triple-doubles record and strengthened his own MVP case, Harden put up quiet video game numbers of his own. He posted a stat line of 35 points, 15 assists, and 11 rebounds and led the Rockets to the 54th win of the season. These games are inconsequential, but it’s nice that Harden looks to be back up to his ridiculous standards right before the games get meaningful again.

James Harden and the Rockets are on autopilot until the Playoffs start at the end of the week, and, quite frankly, so am I.

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