NBA: Casspi scores career-high but Kings lose again

NBA Basketball Casspi p

Omri Casspi NBA 248.88 ap (photo credit: AP)
Omri Casspi NBA 248.88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
After failing to reach double-figures in his last four games, Omri Casspi scored a career-high 17 points on Saturday night, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Sacramento Kings falling to a third straight defeat, 113-106 at the Houston Rockets. The 21-year-old Israeli scored six of 15 shots, three more field-goals than he attempted in his three previous games combined, and added eight rebounds. Casspi, who played 36 minutes, also hit four-of-four from the free-throw line after only managing an abysmal 28 percent (5 of 18) in his first 10 games of the season.  "This was a very tough game against a very good team," Casspi said after the Kings fell to 5-7 on the season. "Our shots were there but they came up short. I'm happy with the way we played. We will get better as a team. It's step by step and it's a long way to go." Sacramento coach Paul Westphal was also pleased with his side's play. "I like the spirit and the effort on this team," he said. "Everyone should be pleased with the way we're playing. I like the way we compete every night. I'm sorry we couldn't cash in on the effort. This team has heart but we haven't learned how to win." The Rockets blew a 15-point, second-quarter lead and had to scrap in the final minutes of the fourth quarter before Luis Scola, who scored 22 points, grabbed key rebounds to ensure Houston triumphed. The Kings played without rookie Tyreke Evans, who sprained a finger on his right hand diving for a ball in Friday night's 104-102 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. He scored 29 points against the Mavericks and is averaging 18.2 points this season. Responding to the setback, Sacramento had six players in double figures, led by Spencer Hawes with 24 and Beno Udrih with 18. Trevor Ariza added 19 for the Rockets. The Rockets led 59-52 at the half, but the Kings came out shooting three-pointers, two to start the third period by Donte Greene. Sacramento used an 11-0 spurt midway through the quarter to take its first lead of the game, 71-69 on a basket by Casspi with 5:40 left. Scola's basket snapped a 101-all tie with 3:41 to play. He followed with two rebounds that helped the Rockets stay ahead and play the game out. Scola had taken charge from the beginning, leading the Rockets' strong start with 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting in the first quarter. The Rockets shot 65 percent in the period to open a 33-24 lead. AP contributed to this report.