Kings Blog

Kings hold streaking Rockets in check, but lack of free throws proves costly

Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul, left, is fouled by Kings guard Garrett Temple on Wednesday in Houston.
Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul, left, is fouled by Kings guard Garrett Temple on Wednesday in Houston. AP

The Kings kept one of the NBA’s best offenses in check most of the night, but James Harden and Chris Paul were still too much as the Houston Rockets held on for a 100-91 victory Wednesday at Toyota Center.

It was Houston’s 10th consecutive win.

The Kings lost guard De’Aaron Fox with less than a minute to play when he was bumped while in the air and landed on his face. He was helped up and walked off the court alongside the medical staff. Fox needed stitches above his right eye and chin.

The Rockets shot just 39.8 percent, but thanks to Harden (28 points, nine rebounds, nine assists) and Paul (19 points, seven assists), Houston (44-13) had enough to hold off the Kings.

Bogdan Bogdanovic led Sacramento (18-39) with 20 points. Garrett Temple had 13 points, while Buddy Hield and Justin Jackson each scored 12.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Still no charity

The Kings’ inability to get to the free throw line remains a problem. They attempted just eight for the game – four in each half – and made five.

On bad shooting nights like Wednesday (43.7 percent), the Kings can have to figure out ways to generate offense. If they could attack more off the dribble to initiate contact, that might help.

A more well-rounded approach

Justin Jackson entered Wednesday averaging 0.9 assists, but he’s recorded at least three in three consecutive games. The four assists Jackson had Wednesday are a season high for the rookie from North Carolina.

Along with his scoring and also grabbing five rebounds Wednesday, his improving ability to find teammates is a sign of growth the Kings are happy to see.

Get healthy over the break

Young players can’t develop if they aren’t on the court. So the most important part of the All-Star break might be the Kings getting Frank Mason III (heel) and Skal Labissiere (shoulder) healthy and back in action.

Fox has been the Kings’ only point guard since George Hill was traded last week, forcing veteran shooting guard Garrett Temple into duty as a backup point guard.

Labissiere needs minutes because even though he’s in his second season, he didn’t play much as a rookie, so every game is important as the Kings evaluate the roster.

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

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