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National Basketball Association
Preview
Sacramento at Houston
When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

The Houston Rockets have their playoff fate in their own hands as they get set to host the Sacramento Kings in the regular-season finale on Wednesday. The Rockets are tied with the Utah Jazz for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference but own the tiebreaker due to a better win percentage against conference opponents.

Houston gave itself a chance to decide its own destiny by crushing the host Minnesota Timberwolves 129-105 on Monday behind 34 points from James Harden. “We trying to get into the playoffs, man,” Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley told reporters. “That fire is under us, and it’s lit. We’re just out there running around, causing havoc defensively, getting run-outs offensively, sharing the ball, playing together, talking. It’s not how we want it to be toward the end of the season, but we’re starting to do the right things.” The Kings have shown no interest in putting their best foot forward of late and are angling for draft position by leaving DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo out of most games. The two stars are not expected to make the trip to Houston, leaving Harden and Beverley to deal with Seth Curry.

TV:
8 p.m. ET, CSN California (Sacramento), ROOT (Houston)

ABOUT THE KINGS (33-48): Curry did a strong impression of his MVP older brother with 20 points and a career-high 15 assists in a 105-101 win at the Phoenix Suns on Monday. Curry has been getting expanded minutes with Rondo and Darren Collison taking games off and is averaging 17.5 points while going 20-of-35 from 3-point range in six games this month. The Duke product was not even a consistent member of the rotation until the end of March and is pushing himself into the team’s future plans with his play of late.

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (40-41):
Houston put up a total of 259 points in wins over the Los Angeles Lakers and Timberwolves on Sunday and Monday and got a rare strong scoring performance from Dwight Howard at Minnesota. Howard scored 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting for his highest scoring total since going for 21 points at Philadelphia on March 9. “We don’t want to put pressure on ourselves,” Howard told reporters. “We know the situation that we’re in. The best thing to do right now is just play. We control what we can control. … We’ve just got to go out there and handle our business.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Rockets F Trevor Ariza is 24-of-36 from the floor, including 11-of-19 from 3-point range, in the last three games.

2. Sacramento rookie C Willie Cauley-Stein scored in double figures in six of the last 10 contests.

3. Houston took two of the first three meetings but the teams have not met since Sacramento’s 107-97 home win on Dec. 15.

PREDICTION: Rockets 115, Kings 108
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Sacramento 33-48 W2 18-23 15-25 3-2 30-46 8-8 19-32
Houston 40-41 W2 22-18 18-23 3-1 37-40 8-8 27-24
Last Meeting
Sacramento Houston
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
12/15/15 HOU 97 SAC 107 107 47 50.7 97 36 41.5
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Sacramento D. Cousins 26 41.2 10
Houston J. Harden 33 55.6 9
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Sacramento R. Gay 13 2 11
Houston C. Capela 9 3 6
Assists Player  
Sacramento D. Collison 13
Houston J. Harden 6
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Sacramento D. Cousins 1837 44.8 510
Houston J. Harden 2438 43.6 735
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Sacramento D. Cousins 784 167 617
Houston D. Howard 836 240 596
Assists Player  
Sacramento R. Rondo 870
Houston J. Harden 635
Quickchart Matchup
Sacramento Off vs  Houston Defense
106.9 Points For
106.7 Points Against
46.5 FG%
46.0 FG%
44.2 Reb
44.6 Reb
Houston Off vs  Sacramento Defense
106.4 Points For
109.0 Points Against
45.1 FG%
46.2 FG%
44.6 Reb
44.9 Reb