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James Harden (13) of the Houston Rockets punches the ball away from Derrick Williams (13) of the Sacramento Kings in the second half of the Rocket's 119-98 victory on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, in Houston. (George Bridges/MCT)

Depleted Kings routed by Rockets

HOUSTON -- Approximately 44 points per game left the visitors' locker room at Toyota Center in walking boots.

Rudy Gay exited slowly with a boot on his left foot, nursing what initially has been diagnosed as an Achilles' sprain.

DeMarcus Cousins followed on crutches, a boot on his left foot because of his sprained ankle.

Without their top two scorers for most of the game, the Kings were drilled by the Houston Rockets, 119-98, on Wednesday night to end a 2-4 trip.

Kings coach Michael Malone said the team would not know the severity of the injuries until further tests are done this afternoon.

Cousins rolled his ankle on a drive to the basket after being fouled by Patrick Beverley with 7:12 left in the second quarter. He was helped off the court by teammates Carl Landry and Travis Outlaw.

Gay left with 6:01 to play in the first quarter. Malone called a timeout, and while his teammates headed to the bench, Gay limped to the locker room.

"I could see prior to that point and I knew that it was bothering (Gay) a little bit," Malone said. "Pete Youngman, our trainer, had said to keep on an eye on Rudy. He went out there and on the very next play he kind of I guess hurt it a little bit more serious."

Tuesday, Gay matched his career high with 41 points in a win in New Orleans. He had four points Wednesday.

Cousins had scored in double figures in 30 consecutive games and posted double doubles in points and rebounds in 15 straight games, a franchise record and the longest streak in the NBA this season. He had two points, four rebounds and three assists.

"Obviously, it's a big loss when you lose those guys both in the first half, but unfortunately, other guys who were able to play didn't respond," Malone said. "We got our butts kicked, and we're a no-excuse team. So whether Rudy or DeMarcus plays, the fact that we guarded no one tonight has nothing to with them not playing in the second half."

The Kings (15-26) gave up 64 points in the second half, but the defensive problems plagued them from the start.

Without Cousins, their leading rebounder, the Kings gave up a season-high 55 rebounds. They also allowed season highs in second-chance points (25) and fast-break points (29).

The Rockets (29-15) had season highs in fast-break points, second-chance points and points in the paint (66).

"I don't care who's playing, I don't care who's out -- those numbers are unacceptable no matter who is out there playing for us," Malone said.

After Cousins left, Malone told the team to "fight and compete."

"We did it for stretches, but it wasn't the effort I was hoping for," Malone said.

Without Cousins to contend with, Dwight Howard had his way in the paint with 26 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. James Harden had 24 points and nine assists, and former King Omri Casspi came off the bench to score 20 points and match his career high with 12 rebounds.

The Kings shot 39.5 percent and fell to 1-13 when failing to score 100 points.

"I think it hurts all of us," Derrick Williams said of the absences of Cousins and Gay. "That's about 40 points a game between the two of them, and it really hurts the game plan. But at the same time, other guys have got to step up and try to fill roles. It's tough when we're playing behind the whole game, though."

Williams led the Kings with 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Isaiah Thomas had 20 points and six assists.

(c)2014 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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KINGS


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