Photo by Antonio Harvey
Sacramento, CA - James Harden is no Stephen Curry but the runner up MVP is making noise as he gets his Rockets back on track in the West. Head coach Kevin McHale mentioned pregame that he hasn't seen his team play full basketball for forty-eight minutes yet but he's hopeful they'll get there soon.
As for the Kings they're still trying to put the pieces together after suffering their sixth loss after losing 116-100 to Houston last night. Sacramento played without DeMarcus Cousins (right Achilles strain) for the third straight game. The Kings are 0-3 this season without Cousins in the lineup.
"I think we picked up our defensive mindset," said Harden. "Obviously we knew they were going to make a run especially in the game and it was a big run but we kept our composure in the fourth quarter and we came out of here with the win."
Harden scored 22 of his season-high 43 points in the second half. Trevor Ariza added 18 points, including a pair of 3-pointers late in the fourth to stifle a late rally by Sacramento. Former Kings player Marcus Thornton scored 16 points and all five Rockets starters were in double figures.
Houston took an early 15-point lead in the first while Sacramento's bench kept them in the game by outscoring the Rockets bench 70-13. Omri Casspi and Darren Collison each scored a team-high 22 points. Both are season-highs for each player. Casspi's previous high was 12 points (10/30 vs. L.A. Lakers) and Collison's was 18 (11/3 vs. Memphis).
The Kings are still experimenting with their lineup and used their fifth different starting lineup of the season. James Anderson got the starting nod for the second straight game and Marco Belinelli got his first start as a King. But the surprise was Seth Curry who scored 8 points in 72 seconds late in the fourth.
"He was very good," Sacramento's head coach George Karl said. "He knows how to have an impact from the bench on the team. Tonight he was very strong. Once Seth starting making three's they finally found a rhythm."
Sacramento will host the defending NBA Champs tonight at Sleep Train Arena. How will the Kings contain the MVP, Stephen Curry? What they may not realize is that their secret weapon maybe the only person who knows him better than anybody. His younger brother Seth should be the guy they put on him tonight. Sometimes sibling rivalry can be more competitive than team matchups.
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