Sacramento, CA – Could this be the turning point of the franchise? The Kings were without point guard Rajan Rondo who missed his first game this season due to his suspension. Despite poor play and bad turnovers Sacramento defeated the Houston Rockets 107-97.
First time in Sacramento-era history the Kings won a game despite turning the ball over 29 times. The Sac-era Kings record for turnovers is 34, Dec. 4, 1987, at L.A. Clippers. The arena record is 32, by the Kings, on Feb. 26, 1993, vs. Seattle. Sacramento also ended a 7-game losing streak to the Rockets.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever won a game by 10 points where my team committed this many turnovers,” said Kings coach George Karl. “I’ve got a crazy team and I’m kind of crazy. Some of our crazy decisions were amazing.”
With the trade rumors swirling Dwight Howard wasn’t much of a factor for Houston. He got into foul trouble leaving the game early in the third quarter. Howard earned his fourth foul and finished with four points and four rebounds in less than 30 minutes.
“I’ve been positive and trying to help turn this thing around every way possible,” Howard said. “People are always going to make up lies and rumors to get off. But I haven’t said nothing about anything to anybody. That has never been my focus. I’m trying to get these guys to play better and get myself to play better.”
In the first quarter Sacramento looked lost by the second but never trailed and got a cohesive effort from all starters, including help from the bench. Darren Collison had 14 points and a season-high 13 assists and six rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins led with 26 points and 12 rebounds.
Rudy Gay tallied 17 points, a season-best 13 rebounds, 3 assists, a career-high 6 steals and 1 block. It was Gay’s 3rd double-double of the season. Rondo missed his first game of the season due to an NBA suspension. Rondo had started all 24 of the Kings’ games to start the season.
“The thing about it was, we had turnovers and turned the ball over but we played hard on defense,” said Gay. “So we made up for it. You really can’t fault us or anybody for turning the ball over if they get it on the other side. We made defense our principle today and we got the win.”
The Rockets fall to 12-14 overall, 5-7 on the road. Houston had 22 turnovers, 2 shy of its season-high 24, set on Dec. 8 at Brooklyn. James Harden finished with a game-high 33 points (10-18 FG, 4-8 3pt, 9-12 FT), 14 coming in the 3rd quarter. Harden also had 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal. It was Harden’s 10th 30-point game of the season and 3rd in the last 4 games.
Sacramento improves to 10-15 overall, 8-7 at home. The Kings have won its last three games, all at home. It’s a wining streak this team is not used to but it works for now. The chemistry on the floor is good and for the first time in a long time team looks lie their having fun out there.
“It’s just good to keep these wins going,” Gay said.