Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#539 Sacramento Kings vs.
#540 Houston Rockets
Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at 8:10pm EST
Toyota Center, Houston
Written by Chris King

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A pair of teams in different situations in the Western Conference playoff picture take the floor to conclude a two-game set in the Lone Star State. The Sacramento Kings are on the road as they make the trip to take on the Houston Rockets Wednesday night. These teams met in the opening game of their two-game set on Monday night, with the Kings rolling to a 140-120 victory here in Houston, covering the line as a seven-point favorite in the process. In the all-time regular season series between the teams, the Rockets own a 138-97 advantage but the Kings have won five straight meetings, including each of the three contests that have taken place this season.

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Sacramento Kings Seek to Sweep Season Series

Sacramento had dropped two straight and four of their previous six games before rolling past Houston in the first meeting of this two-game set Monday night. The Kings improved to 30-23 on the season and lead the Pacific Division by one game over the Clippers entering Tuesday night. In the Western Conference playoff picture, the team stood third, 6.5 games behind the Nuggets for the top spot, 2.5 games ahead of seventh-place Golden State to stay in a guaranteed playoff spot and 4.5 games ahead of 11th-place Portland to remain in the playoff picture. Against Houston, Sacramento led by seven after the opening quarter and by 17 at the half. The Kings saw the lead narrowed to five in the third quarter but pushed back to an 11-point edge after three quarters. They never let the Rockets closer than that in the final stanza en route to the win. Sacramento shot 58.4% from the field, including 21 of 41 from beyond the arc, and overcame allowing the Rockets to shoot 50% in the game. Keegan Murray led the Kings with 30 points and six rebounds in the win.

The Kings enter this game 1st in the league in scoring offense with an average of 119.3 points per game. Sacramento is 24th in rebounding with 41.9 boards a contest while the team stands 5th by handing out an average of 27 assists per contest. The Kings are 22nd in scoring defense as they allow an average of 116.6 points a night. De’Aaron Fox leads the team with 24.1 points plus 4.3 rebounds and 6.2 assists a night on the year. Keegan Murray (12.1 points, 4.6 rebounds), Kevin Huerter (15 points, three assists) and Domantas Sabonis (18.6 points, 12.3 rebounds, seven assists) each average in double figures. Terence Davis, Malik Monk (13.5 points), Harrison Barnes (15.1 points), Richaun Holmes, Davion Mitchell, Trey Lyles and Chimezie Metu are all key pieces of their rotation. Sacramento is 3rd in field goal percentage by shooting 49.3% from the floor as a team on the year. The Kings are 7th by knocking down an average of 13.5 three-pointers a night while they are 11th by knocking down 36.8% of their attempts from beyond the arc this season.

As of Tuesday night, the Kings have no reported injuries to worry about heading into tip-off.

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Houston Rockets Look to Split Two-Game Set

Houston dropped their third straight and their 18th in the last 21 games as they were taken down by the Kings in the first game of this two-game series. The Rockets dropped to 13-41 on the season and stand in the basement of the Southwest Division, 19.5 games behind the Grizzlies for the top spot. In the West, the team is last in the conference, 24 games behind the Nuggets. They stood 15.5 games behind the Suns for the final guaranteed playoff spot and 13.5 games behind the Jazz for the final spot in the play-in tournament. Against Sacramento, Houston’s last lead came less than three minutes into the game and they were playing from behind after that. The Rockets were down seven after the opening quarter and by 17 at the half. Houston got within 81-76 with 5:45 to play in the third quarter but that was as narrow as the margin would get as they simply couldn’t stop Sacramento from scoring at will. The Rockets shot 50% in the game, including 13 of 32 from three-point range, but allowed the Kings to shoot a blistering 58.4% in the game. Jalen Green led Houston with 27 points in the loss.

The Rockets enter this contest 29th in the league with 110.1 points per game on the season. Houston is 4th in rebounding by collecting 46.7 boards a night while they are 29th in assists with 22.5 dimes per contest. The Rockets are 25th in scoring defense as they give up an average of 118 points per game on the year. Jalen Green leads the team with 21.6 points per game plus 3.7 assists per game. Eric Gordon kicks in 13.2 points a night, Kevin Porter Jr. chips in 19.2 points plus 5.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists a night while Alperen Seguin chips in 15.3 points plus 8.8 boards a contest. Kenyon Martin Jr. (11.5 points, 5.5 boards), Jabari Smith (11.8 points, 6.9 boards), Jae’Sean Tate, Tari Eason, Bruno Fernando, Garrison Matthews, Usman Garuba and Daishen Nix have to contribute in order of the team to have success. Houston is 30th in field goal percentage as they shoot 45.2% as a team from the floor. The Rockets are 22nd in threes per game as they knock down 11 triples a night and stand 29th in three-point shooting by hitting 32.8% from beyond the arc.

Matthews (toe) has missed the last two games, last playing on February 3 against the Raptors. Porter Jr. (foot) last played on January 11 against the Kings and said last week that there is no timetable for his return at this point.

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Sacramento has won the last five meetings between the teams and they have been dynamic on the offensive end of the floor this season. The Kings got Fox back for the game Monday and it immediately paid dividends for them. This is a matchup between the team that leads the league in scoring offense and the one that has the second-worst offensive production in the league. The Rockets have had problems on both ends of the floor as they are near the bottom of the league in scoring defense as well. Sacramento is at full strength here and that is something that can’t be overlooked. Give the advantage to the Kings here as they sweep the season series by grounding the Rockets for the sixth straight meeting.

Prediction: Sacramento Kings

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Sacramento comes into this game with the under posting a 28-24-1 mark in their 53 games on the season. The Kings are ninth in the league in tempo with 100.8 possessions a night while they are a middle of the road team when it comes to miscues as they are 15th in turnovers by averaging 14.2 per contest. Houston has seen the over hit in 27 of their 54 games on the year. The Rockets are an average team when it comes to pace as they are 16th in the league in tempo with 99.4 possessions a night on the year. Houston is turnover prone as they are the worst team in the league in that category with an average of 17 turnovers per contest. In the series, the over has hit in each of the last five meetings and this one seems primed to go the same way. The Kings pile up points and push this one over the number.

Prediction: Over

Written By Chris King , "Chris King"

Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.