The Houston Rockets take the floor for the final time at home in the regular season against the Sacramento Kings Sunday night. They currently find themselves in the driver’s seat, controlling their own destiny heading into the 2013 Western Conference Playoffs.
Houston (44-35) sits tied with the Golden State Warriors (45-35) in the loss column, giving the Rockets the ability to win out and overtake the sixth spot heading into the playoffs. If both teams finish with the same record, the Rockets own the tiebreaker by virtue of winning the season series head-to-head (three games to one).
Houston’s race to the finish starts Sunday night at Toyota Center against Sacramento (28-51). The Kings are a team simply limping into the offseason, and the Rockets shouldn’t have much trouble with them.
A solid night for Houston’s Omer Asik is crucial in at least limiting the damage done by Demarcus Cousins. Other than Cousins and Tyreke Evans, this Sacramento roster doesn’t exhibit much depth, and is one the Rockets should work through with ease in a game they badly need to win.
The Rockets will welcome the return of Chandler Parsons on Sunday, who has missed five games with a strained calf muscle. A healthy Parsons, averaging just over 15 points per game, is crucial to this Houston team. The Rockets have missed his production and lights out shooting down the stretch. Coach Kevin McHale expects Parsons to play in two of three remaining regular season games, likely seeing action tonight to knock off some rust and work on getting into playoff form.
This is a much-needed win for the Rockets, a team that badly needs to right the ship after a tough loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night. If all goes as planned and the Rockets manage an average shooting night in Houston, the contest should end in lopsided fashion in the Rockets’ favor.