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Reply To: NBA • Saturday Service Plays • 12/5/15

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Preview: Sacramento At Houston

When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 5, 2015

Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

The Houston Rockets aim to record their seventh consecutive victory over Sacramento when they host the Kings on Saturday. Houston continued its recent dominance in the series with a 116-110 victory Nov. 6 as guard James Harden contributed 43 points and 13 assists.

The Rockets are showing signs of overcoming a disappointing start by recording victories in four of their past five games. Harden had 25 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in Friday’s 100-96 road victory over the Dallas Mavericks and has topped 20 points in each of the past nine games. “I’m just a playmaker, my man,” Harden said afterward in response to a question. “If I have the shot, shoot it. If I have the opportunity to pass it and make a good play, I will do that as well.” Sacramento has lost three of its last four games and fell 114-97 to the Boston Celtics on Thursday.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, CSN California (Sacramento), ROOT (Houston)

ABOUT THE KINGS (7-13): Sacramento center Willie Cauley-Stein will miss four to six weeks with an open dislocation of his right index finger. He suffered the injury in the final minute of Thursday’s loss when he hit his hand against the backboard and immediately winced and headed toward the bench. Cauley-Stein was the sixth overall pick of the 2015 draft and had carved himself a place in the starting lineup and is averaging 4.8 points and 5.2 rebounds.

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (9-11): Houston has won consecutive games against New Orleans and Dallas and interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff said the reason is the club’s fourth-quarter defensive effort. “Our last win we gave up 19 points in the fourth quarter, (Friday) we gave up 18 points in the fourth quarter,” Bickerstaff told reporters. “So, again, what we hung our hat on last year we’re doing more of now. We’re aggressive, forcing turnovers, and we’re just digging down and getting stops.” The Rockets forced the Mavericks into 18 turnovers and 8-of-29 shooting from 3-point range.


1. Kings C DeMarcus Cousins sat out last month’s meeting with the Rockets due to an Achilles’ tendon injury but averaged 26.5 points, 19 rebounds, eight assists and 4.5 blocked shots in two games against Houston last season.

2. Houston C Dwight Howard was rested on the front end of a back-to-back and will start Saturday’s game.

3. Sacramento backup SF Omri Casspi (gastroenteritis) is listed as probable.

PREDICTION: Rockets 119, Kings 112