NBA Gameday: Shorthanded Kings to Face Harden, Rockets Without Cousins

The shorthanded Sacramento Kings take their show on the road Wednesday night when they begin a three-game trip with a stop in Houston to face the high-powered Rockets. The Kings are fresh off a blowout win over the Lakers and looking to build some momentum, but they'll have to do it without DeMarcus Cousins.

Due to Cousins' heavy workload so far this season, the Kings have decided to rest their starting center Wednesday night.

Forward Rudy Gay and guard Ben McLemore have both been ruled out due to injuries suffered against the Lakers.

When these two teams faced off in late November at Golden 1 Center, the Rockets put on an incredible shooting display. Houston shot an NBA record 51 3-pointers, making 21 on their way to a 13-point win.

James Harden led the way, nearly posting a triple-double in the victory, but it was veteran Trevor Ariza who did the real damage. Ariza knocked down 6-of-11 from long range on his way to 18 points.

Cousins led a late comeback, hitting a career-high five 3-pointers. Sacramento made it a game, but getting into a shootout with an offensive juggernaut like the Rockets isn’t advised.

Rockets by 9.5

Garrett Temple vs. James Harden -- With McLemore ailing, there is no word on who will start alongside Darren Collison in the Kings backcourt. But who starts and who plays the majority of the minutes might not be the same player. Temple is as close as the Kings have to a lockdown defender. He’s athletic and long, but guarding Harden takes a special kind of patience. Harden is averaging 28.1 points, 11.6 assists and 7.6 points per game. If his shot isn’t on, he finds ways to draw fouls, where he shoots 10.4 attempts per night making him one of the more difficult covers in the game.

Kings: 9-15, fourth place in Pacific

Rockets: 18-7, second place in Southwest

Kings: C DeMarcus Cousins (rest) out, SF Rudy (hip flexor) out, SG Ben McLemore (quad contusion) out.

Rockets: No injuries to report.

Houston took game one of the season series when they lit Sacramento up from behind the 3-point line for a 117-104 victory. The Rockets hold a 125-88 all-time lead over the Kings and an 84-42 advantage in the Sacramento-era.

“I think we got more aggressive defensively. Shared the ball, played together - we had a good flow going towards the end of the game. I think we clicked as a team late down the stretch and that’s what helped us push through.” -DeMarcus Cousins on the Kings win over the Lakers on Monday night

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