Paul Kitagaki Jr. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Houston’s Omri Casspi (seated) says he likes playing for the high-scoring Rockets. Casspi started his NBA career in Sacramento.

Kings notes: Casspi happy to be with playoff-contender Rockets

Published: Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013 - 11:17 pm
Last Modified: Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 - 8:11 am

Omri Casspi is on his second team since the Kings traded him in 2011.

And Casspi, one of the Kings’ two first-round draft picks in 2009 (along with Tyreke Evans), is smiling about where he is now as a member of the Houston Rockets.

Casspi was traded after his second season in Cleveland and signed with Houston as a free agent this past offseason. He said he is enjoying life as a Rocket, where he’s a part of the NBA’s highest-scoring team.

Casspi is one of three former Kings playing for the Rockets. Aaron Brooks and Francisco Garcia are the others, but Casspi is the only one that wasn’t with the Rockets at the end of last season.

“(My role is to) come off the bench and bring that energy, make shots and move the ball,” Casspi said. “Our offense is so unselfish that we move the ball and whoever is open shoots it and makes shots or creates shots for others. It’s really great so I’m really happy.”

Casspi is averaging 8.6 points on 44.8 percent shooting this season. He scored four points Sunday in his team’s 106-91 loss to the Kings at Sleep Train Arena.

Casspi said even before knowing whether All-Star Dwight Howard would sign with the Rockets he saw Houston as an ideal destination because of its style of play.

“Whoever is open is going to get the ball and shoot it, and it’s hard to stop us,” Casspi said. “We have so many weapons, shooters, and we emphasize it every day in practice.”

This is also Casspi’s first time playing for a playoff contender.

“That’s what we play for, to be in that position,” Casspi said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to help.”

HBO at the game – The HBO series “Real Sports” was filming a story on Kings principle owner Vivek Ranadive during the game.

HBO correspondent Bernard Goldberg sat courtside between Ranadive and Kings consultant Chris Mullin in the first half.

HBO’s cameras also followed Ranadive before the game and captured him chatting with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.

Goldberg and the HBO cameras were absent from courtside in the second half.

Filling in – The Rockets were coached by assistant Kelvin Sampson for the third consecutive game.

Head coach Kevin McHale was not with the Rockets on their three-game trip, which ended Sunday in Sacramento, following the death of his mother.

Josephine Patricia Starcevich McHale passed away Tuesday night in Minnesota.

Debut – Forward Quincy Acy made his Kings debut after being acquired in a trade with Toronto. Acy did not play in the Kings’ loss Friday at Phoenix.

Kings coach Michael Malone used Acy because the Rockets tend to use smaller lineups. Aaron Gray did not play because of the Rockets’ small lineups.


Follow The Bee’s Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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