Just when you started to feel good about yourself.
After coming home from a winning East Coast road swing, the Rockets were faced with a much greater challenge playing the much improved Sacramento Kings Tuesday night.
But you have to put the ball in the hole (and hold on to possession) to beat a team like the Kings.
Shooting 33% for the first 3 quarters and finishing with 22 turnovers, the Rockets were thumped upside the head by the crown of the Kings as Sacramento cruised to the 88-81 victory in the Compaq Center.
The Rockets fall to 8-7. The Kings improve to 10-3.
This game was absolute hell, personally. Not only were the Rockets awful, but I couldn't watch any of it -- not a damn thing. The signal for tonight's game through the Time Warner cable NBA package was about as strong and reliable as a Scotty Brooks postup turnaround on Shaq.
Probably a good thing. This game was awful.
Chris Webber rolled, showing why he'll get any contract he so desires this summer when he becomes a free agent. CWebb scored 21 points, grabbed 11 boards and swatted 4 shots.
Compare that to our power forward combo of Maurice Taylor and Kenny Thomas. Combined total: 48 minutes, 3-14 shooting, 6 points, 9 boards and 9 turnovers.
Hakeem Olajuwon missed his first 9 shots, finishing 2-12 from the floor.
Jason Williams hit 8-13 shots for 18 points. Predrag Stojakovic scored 16... and even though Doug Christie missed 10 of his 14 shots, the 4 he did make were three-pointers.
Cuttino Mobley did score 21 points and grab 8 boards, but most of those points came in garbage time. Steve Francis was the only starter to hit 50% or better (5-7), but didn't play well and didn't play much (27 minutes, none in the fourth). A talent like Steve putting up just 7 shots? Makes no sense. He finished with 13 points.
The Kings exposed a lot of the Rockets problems, and take a look at the season stats on the site to see what I'm talking about:
- Shandon Anderson (0-3, 16 minutes of action) is in a collosal funk. After destroying Ray Allen in the Bucks game then following that up with 19 against the Clips, Shandon has fallen off the map.
- Mo Taylor also hasn't fit in extremely well just yet. Both Shandon and Mo are playing for contracts.
- No defensive presence inside: Cato is sorely missed... No Rocket is averaging even a block a game.
- Dirty work on the boards: No Rocket is averaging 6 boards or more. Not a single one.
- Leadership: No Rocket is averaging 6 assists or more. Francis is dishing out just over 5 and a half, but is committing over 3 and a half turnovers per game as well.
The Kings came out strong, scoring the first 6 points then bumping that up to a 20-3 lead. Meanwhile the Rockets came out ice, ice cold... after one the Kings led 28-13.
Houston closed to within 7 points, but the Kings would not relent, and closed the half on a 19-9 run, leading 52-35 at intermission.
The Rockets closed to within 12 at 54-42 in the third, but before you could blink the Kings ran off 9 straight points to take their biggest lead of the game, 21 points, at 63-42. Boos started to slowly trickle down from the Compaq Center rafters.
After three quarters the Rockets trailed 74-56. Hakeem Olajuwon and Mo Taylor combined were shooting 4-21 from the floor.
When Moochie nailed a baseline jumper the Rockets closed to within 14 at 74-60, but Pollard and Webber each responded with buckets to up the lead back to 16.
However, after Bullard nailed a deuce and Moochie a three, the Rockets trailed 78-67 -- Webber killed that rally also as after Mobley threw the ball away, CWebb nailed two field goals upping the lead once again to 15.
The Kings were never really challenged.