The Houston Rockets (41-33) are traveling to take on the Sacramento Kings (27-47) in an important Western Conference battle.
While the Kings may be out of contention, they are still going hard on a nightly basis and looking to play the role of spoiler to the many contending teams they will be facing over the next two weeks.
A notable fact about this game is that it will be the first time Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas and Cole Aldrich face their old team, as the three were traded to Sacramento in exchange for Thomas Robinson, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt—a group also facing their former franchise for the first time.
Will the Rockets be able to avoid this pitfall and pick up the win, or will they take a step back in the postseason race and drop a game in Sactown?
Keep reading to find out where to watch this game, check out some players to keep an eye on, catch our prediction on the final score and much more.
When: Wednesday, April 3, at 10 p.m. ET
Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, Calif.
Watch: CSN Houston, CSAC
Live Stream: NBA League Pass (paid subscription required)
Rockets Injury Report (via USA Today)
F Chandler Parsons, Questionable, Food Poisoning
G James Harden, Questionable, Foot
Kings Injury Report (via USA Today)
F James Johnson, Out, Person
Rockets Player to Watch: Jeremy Lin
The Rockets' point guard has been up and down lately, but seems to have turned things around following a mediocre stretch of play.
Against the Orlando Magic on Monday night, Lin dropped 19 points, dished 11 assists and connected on 50 percent of his shots to lead his team to a 111-103 win. If the 24-year-old star can continue putting up stats like that, he would surely aid in the Rockets quest to remain in contention for the No. 6 or 7 seed in the tight Western Conference playoff battle.
Should Lin falter again and fail to contribute at a high level, there’s a distinct possibility that Houston misses the postseason, as the Utah Jazz (39-36), Los Angeles Lakers (38-36) and Dallas Mavericks (36-37) are breathing right down this organization’s neck.
Kings Player to Watch: DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins has been playing extremely well over the past two games, having averaged 26.5 points on 55.6 percent shooting and 12.5 rebounds in 34.5 minutes per contest.
His best stretch came in just three quarters of play this past Thursday, when the big man piled in 34 points and snagged 14 boards in a win over the Phoenix Suns.
While Cousins wasn’t able to guide the Kings past the Lakers on Saturday, he did put up yet another double-double, helping to keep his season averages of 17.2 points and 10.1 rebounds.
Expect a non-stop skirmish between Omer Asik and Cousins for control of the paint in this one, with the winner giving their team a leg up in pulling off the “W” on Wednesday night.
While the Kings aren’t going to just roll over, we’re giving the edge to the Rockets in this one.
Which team will win?
Houston is in the midst of fighting for its playoff livelihood and has performed well in recent weeks, going 7-3 over the past 10 games.
Sacramento, while maintaining a respectable 5-5 record in its last 10, just doesn’t have the same motivation that the Rockets' players have to win. The Kings might be at home in Sleep Train Arena, but the home crowd simply doesn’t have the same impact on the opposition as it did during this franchise’s glory days.
It’s going to be a tightly contested matchup, but the Rockets walk away with a victorious and move yet another step closer to locking up their first playoff appearance since 2009.
Rockets 105 - Kings 99