Rockets dominate, 127-101

Three pointers from Rockets at Kings

The Rockets continued their road trip out in Sacramento Wednesday night as they took on the Kings in what was expected to be a high scoring affair. After trading leads in the first quarter, the Rockets ran away with entire game before the end of the half. Houston led by as much as 37 at one point. The Rockets are now 32-22, first in the Southwest Division, and fifth in the Western Conference. They trail the Golden State Warriors by 6.5 points.

Size didn't matter

For the first time in the past 3 out of 4 games Houston held their own in the paint despite a significant size disadvantage against Sacramento. Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein and forwards Nemanja Bjelica and Marvin Bagley were unable to assert their will on the undersized Rockets as they led the Rockets in points in the paint by an underwhelming 46-44.

Bombs Away

Houston found themselves in a dogfight through the first quarter, leading 32-28. The second quarter was anything but as Houston's sharpshooters all heated up and poured it on the helpless Kings to run away with a 44-17 quarter. The Rockets would finish with 20 made threes including 8 from James Harden and 4 each from Eric Gordon and Gerald Green. All three players finished with at least 20 points, while Harden extended his consecutive 30-point streak to 28 games.

Pickpockets and youth

The Kings are a promising young team, but they're also simply a young team. The talent is there, but the fundamentals are still developing. It's a trait most easily noticeable in the turnovers section and the Kings were ran out of the building in that regard. Houston dominated the turnover game, forcing 22 while only committing 12. PJ Tucker ended with a very PJ Tucker statline, scoring an eye-popping 2 points to go with 5 steals and 10 rebounds. Houston out-swiped the Kings as a whole, 13-5

Rockets player of the game:

James Harden: 36 points (8-13 from 3), 6 rebounds

Kings player of the game:

Buddy Hield: 20 points, 10 rebounds

Last Shot:

Harden drained eight 3-pointers in the victory Wednesday night. This is the sixth time this season and eleventh in his career where Harden has made eight or more 3-pointers in a game, averaging 43 points per game.

Next up:

Houston returns home to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday at 7:30 pm central on ABC.

Breaking down the loss

How the Rockets lost their chance at the sweep

Tim Warren/Getty Images

Monday night the Houston Rockets took on the Utah Jazz with every intention of completing the sweep against their first round opponent. The Jazz had other plans, however, and despite a third quarter run by the Rockets to retake the lead, it was the Jazz who would ultimately battle back and take game four. Utah's hopes remain alive in the 2019 playoffs, yet in spite of their victory they still trail Houston three games to one.

Out muscled

The Rockets came out flat from the get go and that tempo seemed to carry with them throughout the match up. They were out-assisted 14-24, out-rebounded 48-62 (16 of which were offensive), and brutalized in points in the paint, 22-52. It was a lackluster effort, and yet the Rockets remained competitive until the final seconds.

Donovan Mitchell Explodes

Despite poor play all around the Rockets were still hanging around late into the fourth. Their chances of a come from behind victory were quickly dashed when 2nd year guard Donovan Mitchell turned on the jets. Mitchell fired 6-12 for 19 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter alone, including two back to back three-pointers to put the game away late. Mitchell's outburst was perfectly timed and integral in staving off Houston's comeback.

No backup

James Harden shook off his unusual game three performance with a solid 30 point outing, matched closely by 23 points from Chris Paul. Aside from them, however, Houston received little assistance from their supporting cast. The Rockets bench fired a collective 2-16 and accounted for 5 points. The Jazz bench in contrast went 9-22 for 28 points. Harden and Paul can do whatever they want on the court, but if this is the support they can expect moving forward, Houston won't last too much longer this postseason. It's highly unlikely the bench remains that ineffective moving forward, but it's worth keeping an eye on.

Rockets player of the game

Chris Paul: 23 points, 7 assists, 8 rebounds, 5 steals, 2 blocks

Jazz player of the game

Donovan Mitchell: 31 points, 4 assists, 7 rebounds

Next up

The Rockets return to Houston for game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Wednesday at 7:00 pm, central.

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