Kings
Rockets
96 - 107 Final
  for this game

Rockets rout Kings

Dec 20, 2008 - 5:48 AM By Andrew Ferraro PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- The Houston Rockets started a busy stretch of basketball with a 107-96, come-from-behind victory over the struggling Sacramento Kings on Friday night at Toyota Center.

In the first of a four-games-in-five-nights stretch, the Rockets (17-9) shrugged off a slow start to win their sixth straight home game to improve to 9-3 here.

Yao Ming and Luis Scola led the Rockets with 30 and 23 points, respectively, and Tracy McGrady and Aaron Brooks chipped in with 18 and 10, respectively.

McGrady also had a game-high eight assists for the Rockets, who will play the Timberwolves in Minneapolis on Saturday before traveling to New Jersey and Cleveland on Monday and Tuesday.

John Salmons scored 26 points for Sacramento, which fell to 7-20 overall and lost its fifth straight road game. Bobby Jackson scored 19 points off the bench, while Brad Miller and Francisco Garcia added 17 and 14 points, respectively.

"I think that collectively as a team we have to sustain that defensive mentality that we had in the second half of the ball game," McGrady said. "(In) the first half, they shot a high percentage.

"They got any shot that they wanted. They only scored 41 points in the second half, so it is a matter of us pulling it together for 48 minutes instead of 24."

The Kings came out firing in the first half, and the worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA raced out to a 51-40 lead in the first 18 minutes behind Salmons and Jackson, who combined for 28 points.

But Houston called a timeout after Jackson gave the Kings an 11-point lead after hitting his second 3-pointer with 5:44 left in the half. Whatever the Rockets talked about worked, as they held the Kings to just one field goal for the rest of the second quarter.

"We weren't making any stops at all," Houston coach Rick Adelman said. "They shot it really well.

"We were able to come back and tie it at halftime but we've got to play 48 minutes defensively, and you have to give them credit, but we've just got to be better than that, especially if we are going to try to win on the road."

"We were our own worst enemy with our turnovers," Sacramento interim head coach Kenny Natt said. "Houston was a monster on the boards, and you have to give them credit for the win."

Playing well defensively, the Rockets went on a 14-2 run and took a 55-53 lead with 39 seconds left in the half, when Scola capped his 12-point first half with a 12-foot jumper.

The Rockets used a 13-4 run in the final 4:49 of the third quarter to take an 82-73 lead after three periods.

"I think we are a solid team but, if we don't play defense, then it is going to be hard against anybody," Scola said. "We know that we have to play good defense no matter who we are playing against."

The Kings rallied in the fourth quarter to get within six, but the Rockets - led by Yao - put the game away with several big rebounds.

"It's just frustrating," said Salmons, who made his first eight shots of the game. "We were moving the ball (in the first half), and we were getting it to the open man. That's the way the game is supposed to flow. We just haven't been a consistent team this year."