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Injury to Garrett Temple could be Kings’ biggest loss to end their 3-5 trip

Sacramento Kings' Garrett Temple, left, goes up for a shot against Philadelphia 76ers' Jahlil Okafor during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, in Philadelphia.
Sacramento Kings' Garrett Temple, left, goes up for a shot against Philadelphia 76ers' Jahlil Okafor during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, in Philadelphia. AP

Garrett Temple is familiar with hamstring pain.

He doesn’t believe the left hamstring injury he suffered Tuesday night was as serious as a previous one. But it’s cause for concern.

It’s sore. I’ve had a hamstring pull in the past, a couple years ago. It doesn’t feel as bad as that one, so it’s a little pull. We’ll take an MRI, get a picture of it and see how bad it is.

Garrett Temple, Kings guard, on his hamstring injury

“It wasn’t bothering me,” Temple said after the Kings’ 105-83 loss to the Houston Rockets. “I got a strip on James (Harden) and pushed off to go grab it and felt it right away. I knew it wasn’t a cramp. I knew what it was right away.”

The Kings lost their second consecutive game and wound up 3-5 on their longest trip this season. Losing Temple for an extended period would be tough.

Temple’s impact cannot be measured by statistics alone. He has been a steadying force off the bench, and he became a starter after Rudy Gay suffered a season-ending ruptured left Achilles’ tendon.

“It’s sore,” Temple said of his hamstring. “I’ve had a hamstring pull in the past, a couple years ago. It doesn’t feel as bad as that one, so it’s a little pull. We’ll take an MRI, get a picture of it and see how bad it is.”

Coach Dave Joerger did not speculate on how long Temple might be out. Joerger said there would be an update Thursday when the team practices after a day off Wednesday.

With Gay lost for the season and Omri Casspi (calf) still sidelined, the Kings are thin at the wing positions. They might rely more on rookie Malachi Richardson and Ben McLemore, who played Tuesday after not seeing action in the previous six games.

The Kings showed all the signs of a weary team. On Monday, they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in a game that was rescheduled after dangerous floor conditions postponed their Nov. 30 matchup.

Then they flew three hours to play the Rockets for their fourth game in five nights. The Kings didn’t have their legs under them and scored no fast-break points. Sacramento also shot 34.9 percent and missed 11 of 26 free throws.

“A lot of that’s due to fatigue – both physical and mental,” Joerger said.

The game was essentially over by halftime, when the Kings trailed 54-35, their second lowest total for a half this season. Sacramento was outscored 25-11 in the second quarter.

Temple said the mental strain was just as tough as the physical grind to end the trip.

“Unfortunately we had to add that Philly game after what happened in Philly, and it was already a long road trip,” Temple said of the Nov. 30 game being rescheduled due to an unsafe playing surface. “But to end with four in five and the second of a back-to-back, having a three-hour flight to come here, it is what it is.

“I definitely don’t think that helped with my situation, but it is what it is. Guys are going to step up. I have a lot of faith in Malachi, Ben, and when Omri gets back, we can still bounce back and hopefully I’ll be back sooner than later.”

Temple said he missed about four weeks the last time he injured his hamstring playing for the Washington Wizards. Temple said he aggravated the injury in his first practice back, so he’ll be cautious.

“I’ve got to be sure when to go and not to go,” he said. “Hamstrings are pretty tricky.”

DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings (19-30) with 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists. But he sank only 5 of 16 shots.

Ryan Anderson led the Rockets (36-16) with 25 points and 11 rebounds.

The Kings now look forward to getting home. In February, they have no games outside California. But they’re worried about Temple and his availability for Friday’s game against the Phoenix Suns at Golden 1 Center.

“G.T.’s a big piece of our team, but I know he’s going to do whatever he can to get back on the court and help us,” Cousins said. “But that’s where we need the next guy to come in, fill in his space and step in and produce. That’s all we can do.”

Kings coach Dave Joerger wants to put the road trip behind them.

Nothing major – Kings guard Ty Lawson had an X-ray on his right hand after injuring it during the game. The results were negative, and he was diagnosed with a bruise.

Lawson, who played 11 minutes, said he could have returned if needed. But by the time he was ready, it was the fourth quarter and the game was out of reach.

Youth movement – The lopsided loss allowed the Kings to play rookie Skal Labissiere for the first time on the trip. Richardson also logged a season-high 19 minutes.

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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