Reeling Hornets aim to stop skid against Kings
The Charlotte Hornets hope to follow a recent script written by the Sacramento Kings and exact revenge at the same time when the clubs meet in California’s capital on Monday night.
The Kings will open a six-game homestand on the heels of a 3-3 road trip, one in which they lost in Milwaukee before rebounding to win three of their remaining five games.
The Hornets began a six-game road trip Sunday in Denver, where a late rally fell short in a 119-115 loss to the Nuggets.
The Hornets flew west with an optimistic outlook, with LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward set to play together for the first time this season in Denver.
They experienced a spectrum of results in the loss, with Ball going for 31 points and Hayward contributing a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Rozier, on the other hand, struggled mightily with two points on 1-for-5 shooting before finally suffering a bruised right hip late in the second quarter.
Losing an eighth straight game, Charlotte saw the Nuggets become the seventh consecutive opponent to score 119 points or more.
“We definitely have to lock in on defense,” Ball said. “As soon as we find out, we will turn this around.”
After Monday’s game, the road map takes Charlotte to Los Angeles, where the Hornets will play both the Clippers and Lakers. Charlotte will then play in Portland and Golden State.
Winners of their first two away games of the season, the Hornets have since lost 11 of 12 on the road.
Charlotte has been only marginally better at home, where its 4-11 record includes a 115-108 loss to the Kings on Halloween. Kevin Huerter hurt the Hornets that night with five 3-pointers en route to 26 points, while Domantas Sabonis recorded 16 rebounds and nine points.
The Kings won two in a row to end the trip, the second coming Friday in a 122-113 win over the Detroit Pistons. Sabonis did his board-sweeping act again with 13 rebounds, this time completing 23 points. De’Aaron Fox had 24 points and Keegan Murray 20.
The Kings, who have won 16 of 24 after an 0-4 start, are finding different ways to win this season. Malik Monk said the club had an unusual incentive in Wednesday’s 124-123 triumph in Toronto.
“Do it for him,” Monk boasted to the rallying cry following the ejection of coach Mike Brown. “We got hacked the whole game and didn’t get any calls. So Mike just had to take one for the team and get the energy up and we just ate it up.”
No such tactics were needed in the earlier win at Charlotte, where the Kings outscored the hosts 51-42 from beyond the arc in the seven-point win.
While the Hornets were still waiting for Ball to return from a sprained ankle, PJ Washington paced the contest effort with 28 points.
Charlotte lost despite outscoring the visitors 51.2 percent to 43.5 percent.