Fourth quarter blues: Three takeaways from Wednesday’s 135-115 loss to the Kings

Jan 11, 2023; Sacramento, California, USA; Houston Rockets head coach Stephen Silas, left, reacts to a call by referee Marc Davis (8) during the second quarter of the game against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Fourth quarter blues: Three takeaways from Wednesday’s 135-115 loss to the Kings

The Rockets have lost eight in a row and 13-of-14 after Wednesday’s 135-115 loss in Sacramento. The Rockets led after three quarters, but the Kings, who entered the game with the NBA’s fourth-best offense, dropped 41 points on them in the game’s final 12 minutes. Jalen Green led the Rockets with 26 points, but he shot just 9-of-25 from the field and committed four turnovers while dishing out three assists. Kevin Porter Jr. was limited to 10 minutes after leaving the game in the second quarter with a left foot contusion.

Kings pile it on in the fourth

The Rockets were 12 minutes away from snapping their seven-game losing streak, taking a 95-94 lead into the fourth quarter, but they could not survive an avalanche from Sacramento in the game’s final period. The Rockets led 101-100 with under nine minutes to play, but the Kings closed the game on a 35-14 run.

The Rockets shot just 35% in the fourth quarter, while the Kings shot 64% and drained 6-of-10 from behind the 3-point line. The Rockets held De’Aaron Fox to 15 points through three quarters, but he scored nine in the fourth, but it was Trey Lyles who did most of the damage in the quarter for Sacramento. He scored 15 points in the final period after putting up just five through the first three quarters.

K.J. Martin provides a lift

The Rockets were struggling to find offense when Martin was subbed in for the first time, but he provided an instant jolt. On his second offensive possession, he cut for a dunk, and he did the same on the third, and he would add a third dunk a few possessions later. Martin was the Rockets leading scorer in the first quarter with nine points, despite playing fewer than four minutes.

Kevin Porter Jr. left Wednesday’s game in the second quarter with a left foot contusion, so Martin was inserted in the Rockets’ starting lineup after halftime and finished the night scoring 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting in 27 minutes. If Porter is unable to return for Friday’s game, expect Martin in the Rockets’ starting lineup. He’s essentially their sixth starter and moves into that first five whenever one of the non-centers is unable to play.

Alperen Sengun makes history

Alperen Sengun became the youngest player in Rockets history to finish a game with a triple-double as he scored 10 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and dished out 10 assists against the Kings. At 20 years old and 170 days, Sengun took the title away from Kevin Porter Jr., who finished with a triple-double about a month shy of his 22nd birthday last March against the Kings.

Sengen was limited to 28 minutes on Wednesday due to foul trouble, and matching up with Domantas Sabonis was always going to be a tough matchup. Sabonis finished with 25 points, 14 rebounds, and nine assists on Wednesday, so while he had his way against the Rockets’ defense, Sengun at least made him work on the other end of the floor.

Next up

The Rockets’ four-game trip through California continues with a second game in Sacramento on Friday night.

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