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Howard powers Rockets past Kings
Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Dwight Howard recorded a double-double of 26 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Houston Rockets to a 119-98 drubbing of the Sacramento Kings.
James Harden tallied 24 points with nine assists and Chandler Parsons had 19 points with 10 rebounds in the win, snapping a two-game skid against Sacramento.
Omri Casspi contributed 20 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, while Jeremy Lin added 13 points as a reserve for Houston, which has won three straight overall and six of its last seven.
"I thought we had good ball movement," said Rockets coach Kevin McHale. "I thought our defense at times was really, really good tonight. Guys were just making simple plays."
Derrick Williams paced the Kings with 22 points to go along with 11 rebounds off the bench and Isaiah Thomas deposited 20 points and six assists in Sacramento's third loss in its last four games.
In addition to the setback, the Kings lost Rudy Gay in the first quarter to an Achilles injury and DeMarcus Cousins left in the second with a sprained left ankle.
"It hurts all of us," Williams admitted of the early departures to Cousins and Gay. "Especially when you're missing 40 points a game between the two of them, and it really hurts the whole game plan."
Gay and Thomas hit successive jumpers midway through the first quarter to help the Kings to a 12-7 advantage. Gay's injury occurred as he landed from his successful floater. He came up lame and immediately left the game for further examination.
The Kings lead wouldn't stick as the Rockets answered with a 14-5 run. Harden scored eight points during the spurt and Houston never looked back from there.
The Rockets led 29-22 after the first quarter and owned a 55-44 edge at the break.
It continued to get worse for Sacramento in the third quarter as Casspi made a layup to push the lead to 76-54 with just under six minutes left in the frame. The lead swelled to as many as 29 in the fourth as Casspi nailed a trey to give the Rockets a 110-81 lead and they coasted in the final minutes.
Houston shot 47.8 percent (43-for-90) from the field ... Jimmer Fredette and Ben McLemore scored 14 and 11 points, respectively, in defeat ... Houston outscored Sacramento in every quarter.
01/23 02:07:38 ET