The Houston Rockets opened as 9.5-point favorites for Wednesday's home game with the Sacramento Kings, but that line is rising quickly as the two best Sacramento players reportedly are out.
Sacramento (9-15) enters off a 116-92 win home win over the L.A. Lakers on Monday. Star center DeMarcus Cousins had 31 points, 16 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. But guard Ben McLemore was helped off the court with a bruised left quadriceps at the 7:35 mark of the first quarter after hitting his knee on a screen and didn't return. And small forward Rudy Gay left late in the second quarter with a hip flexor.
Thus it's no shock that McLemore and Gay are sitting on Wednesday in Houston, and McLemore isn't a huge loss. But why Cousins? The team is calling it planned rest, but it doesn't have another game on Thursday so this is somewhat odd. One of the Kings beat reporters expects a starting five of Darren Collison, Garrett Temple, Omri Casspi, Matt Barnes and Kosta Koufos. That's practically a D-League team.
Houston (18-7) didn't need much help to win this game and had jumped to -13 on NBA odds as of this writing. The Rockets enter on a season-high seven game winning streak and had scored at least 102 points in each. Houston ranks fifth in the NBA this month in offensive rating (112.9).
It's the second meeting of the season between the teams. On Nov. 25 in Sacramento, the Rockets won 117-104 and attempted an NBA-record 50 3-pointers, making 21. James Harden had 23 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and had 11 assists. Cousins scored 32 points on 12-of-22 shooting including a career-high 5-of-9 from 3-point range.
The Kings have lost five straight in Houston as well. They are 1-4 ATS on NBA picks in those five.