ROCKETS BEAT THE KINGS

James Harden and John Wall come up big in Rockets win over Kings

James Harden and John Wall come up big in Rockets win over Kings
Rockets beat the Kings, 122-119. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Although the Houston Rockets got off to a slow start in the beginning of the game, they began to catch fire inside the 2nd quarter. DeMarcus Cousins and Sterling Brown lifted the second unit. When DeMarcus aggressively set a screen for James Harden, he rolled to the corner, and made his first shot since the 2018-2019 season with the Golden State Warriors. Cousins finished with eight points before the 2nd half ended. The Rockets' bench finished with 22 points in the first half, which is a huge number for them.

After a strong start from Cousins, John Wall eventually followed by becoming a playmaker and scoring threat. Wall was able to split picks, take reasonable 3-point shots from the perimeter, and attack the rim when an opportunity presented itself. He was able to collect 14 points before the half ended.

James Harden, Christian Wood, and Eric Gordon were able to catch fire throughout the second half after a slow start. Harden was able to see the floor well, Gordon began to cut in and out of the defense, while also making contested 3-point shots. Christian Wood found ways to cut off screens and catch difficult lobs to be effective for the Rockets.

But what hurt the Rockets the most was turnovers, as the Sacramento Kings capitalized off 16 turnovers by scoring 18 points. When the Rockets finally started to settle down, Wall and Harden took charge by making tough shots and pushing tempo up the court. Harden and Wall found ways to disrupt the Kings' defense throughout the 4th quarter. Stephen Silas, the head coach for the Rockets, mentioned he enjoyed watching Harden and Wall's shot selection and aggressiveness inside the 4th quarter.

"It was great, they're both trying to figure out who has it, and who is coming off the ball some," as Silas mentioned in the press conference. "They are kind of figuring it out with my help. Both were good at scoring the basketball. It's a relationship that has to grow"

Wall finished with 22 points and 9 assists, while Harden finished with 33 points and 8 assists. Wall and Harden are still trying to figure each other out, so they're able to be successful throughout the season for the Rockets. Wood even mentioned he is fortunate to watch the effort of Harden and Wall together.

"It's remarkable. What he does on the floor, the way he operates, it's crazy. I couldn't really explain it to you. I don't really know what James Harden's ceiling is. Playing with him, he makes me look great," as Wood told the press. "I'm playing within two All-Star guards. Great to have to John back, looks like he is back to All-Star status."

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Kiper has the Texans bolstering their defense in Round 2. Composite Getty, Wiki Commons image.

In Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest two-round mock, he provided insights into potential draft picks and areas of concern for the Texans as they prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft. The Texans currently have two picks in the second round.

When considering the Texans' needs, he selected Illinois defensive tackle Johnny Newton with the No. 42 overall pick and Michigan cornerback Mike Sainristil with the No. 59 pick.

Kiper praised Newton for his exceptional performance as a defensive tackle, noting his impressive 7.5 sacks last season, the most among FBS defensive tackles.

With the departure of Maliek Collins, Newton could fill a crucial void in the Texans' defensive line, providing much-needed pass-rushing ability from the interior.

Another prospect Kiper identified as a potential target for the Texans is Michigan slot cover corner Mike Sainristil.

Kiper hailed Sainristil as the best slot cover corner in the draft, citing his impressive statistics from the previous season, including 6 interceptions, 2 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. With the Texans' re-signing of veteran corner Desmond King, there is still uncertainty about King's role on the roster, according to Kiper, opening the door for Sainristil to make an impact.

Despite his relatively smaller stature at 5-foot-9, Sainristil's playmaking ability and versatility make him an attractive option for the Texans' secondary. Draft expert Lance Zierlein thinks Sainristil would be a good fit in Houston.

As the draft approaches, all eyes will be on the Texans' front office as they make critical decisions that will shape the future of the franchise.

*AI assisted.

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