Can Kings end four-game road slide?

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Can Kings end four-game road slide?

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HOUSTON -- The Kings are looking to get back into the win column as they make their final visit to Houston this season.

Sacramento has followed a three-game winning streak by dropping two straight, including Saturday's 111-108 loss at Golden State. The Kings, 4-21 on the road, committed 15 turnovers, including a critical miscue by rookie point guard Isaiah Thomas with the team trailing by one in the final seconds.

"Mistakes that we make, growing pains, we got to go through them," coach Keith Smart said. "Hopefully, these games will help us as we move forward."

Improved play from Marcus Thornton could help the Kings (17-31) end a four-game road losing streak. He has 32 total points on 13-of-33 shooting in the last two contests after averaging 30.3 in the previous three.

Thornton missed the only game against Houston this season - a 103-89 loss Jan. 13 - with a thigh injury.

Tyreke Evans finished with a team-high 27 points in that contest, but DeMarcus Cousins had just four with four rebounds as the Kings lost for the eighth time in 10 visits to Houston.

Former King Samuel Dalembert helped the Rockets win for the fifth time in six overall meetings with Sacramento with a season-high 21 points and 16 rebounds.

The Kings, who could be without forward Jason Thompson (sprained left ankle) for a second straight game, will also have to deal with newcomer Marcus Camby, who is averaging 5.0 points and 7.8 boards in four games since being acquired from Portland.

The Houston Rockets aren't making excuses for their depleted lineup.

They're too concerned about getting through a rough portion of the schedule and keeping pace in the crowded Western Conference playoff race.

Houston finishes a four-game homestand Monday night when the struggling Sacramento Kings try to improve their conference-worst road mark.

Despite missing Kyle Lowry the last nine games with a bacterial infection and former King Kevin Martin the last seven with a shoulder injury, the Rockets (26-23) have earned some big wins with Goran Dragic and Courtney Lee as the starting guards, defeating West-leading Oklahoma City on March 13 and the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday to open their homestand.

Houston had a chance to knock off Dallas on Saturday and move into fifth place in the West, but instead lost for the first time in three games, 101-99 in OT.

"We battled hard out there, but we just could not get it," said coach Kevin McHale, whose team finished the night ninth in the standings.

With the fourth through 13th spots in the West separated by just a handful of games, the Rockets could certainly use Lowry and Martin in the mix. However, there is no timetable for either to return.

Still, the Rockets could make a run without their starters. Dragic is averaging 17.0 points and 9.4 assists with Lowry out, while Lee is chipping in 14.6 points per game in place of Martin.

Rookie Chandler Parsons recorded his second consecutive double-double on Saturday with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

"I feel we have a lot of players that can play," Luis Scola told the Rockets' official website. "Everybody has injuries and we do have them, too, but we just have to keep playing. ... we needed this one big time, now we have Sacramento coming up at home and we need that one even more."

That's especially true as Houston follows with matchups against the Mavericks, Memphis, Indiana, Chicago and the Lakers before closing out the season series with the Kings in Sacramento on April 8.

Rudy Gay 'ahead of schedule' in recovery from ruptured Achillies

Rudy Gay 'ahead of schedule' in recovery from ruptured Achillies

Rudy Gay has been MIA since leaving the locker room on crutches following the Kings loss to the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 18. He’s posted a few instagram videos of his recovery from a devastating left Achilles rupture, but until Friday night in Oakland, he had been away from the team.

“I’m out of the boot, second stage of my rehab, ahead of schedule and feeling good,” the 30-year-old wing told CSN California’s Kayte Christensen.

According to Gay, he is able to due weight bearing exercises, including some light squats. The 11-year NBA vet is still a ways away from returning to the court, but if he’s ahead of schedule, that means he might be ready for training camp come late September.

It’s not the same group he left behind. DeMarcus Cousins is gone, as is Matt Barnes and Omri Casspi. If he were still playing, Gay would likely be sitting out games for planned rest like most of the Kings’ veterans, but he doesn’t have that luxury.

Gay is entering the final year of his contract in Sacramento. He is due $14.3 million next season, but he has a player option and can become an unrestricted free agent if he so chooses. His recovery will likely dictate whether he opts in to his contract or whether he looks for a long-term deal either with the Kings or elsewhere.

Before the injury, Gay was the Kings’ second leading scorer, posting 18.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 33.8 minutes per night.

 

With weight off his shoulders, Lawson returns to form vs Warriors

With weight off his shoulders, Lawson returns to form vs Warriors

With legal issues hanging over his head, veteran point guard Ty Lawson hasn’t been himself over the Kings’ last eight games. He sat out Wednesday night’s loss to the Bucks and he appeared in a Denver courtroom on Thursday to discuss possible probation violations.

Lawson’s attorney disputed the claims against his client and was granted a six week stay in the case. Lawson will appear back in court on May 4, roughly three weeks after the end of the 2016-17 season.

Starting for the resting Darren Collison, Lawson went off against the Warriors Friday night, scoring 18 of his 20 points in the first half. He shot an impressive 8-of-9 from the field in just 24 minutes of action as he broke down Golden State’s defense.

“Honestly, I think Ty’s had a weight on his shoulders for the last four weeks or so and he just hasn’t been himself,” Joerger said after the 114-100 loss. “I think he looked much more relieved today, he smiled and he was the Ty that we know that he is still.”

Lawson, 29, signed a one-year deal with the Kings in late August and is an unrestricted free agent come July 1.