The Charlotte Hornets hope to follow a recent script authored by the Sacramento Kings and exact some revenge at the same time when the clubs meet in California’s capital city on Monday night.
The Kings will open a six-game homestand in the wake of a 3-3 road trip, one in which they lost at Milwaukee before rebounding to win three of the remaining five games.
The Hornets began a six-game trip Sunday at Denver, where a late rally came up 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 scheduled 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, however, struggled big-time with two points on 1-for-5 shooting before sustaining a game-ending bruised right hip late in the second quarter.
In losing an eighth straight game, Charlotte watched the Nuggets become the seventh consecutive opponent to score 119 points or more.
“We definitely got to lock in on defense,” Ball said. “As soon as we figure that out, we’ll turn this thing around.”
After Monday’s game, the road map will take Charlotte to Los Angeles, where the Hornets will play both the Clippers and Lakers. Charlotte then will play at Portland and Golden State.
Winners of their first two road games of the season, the Hornets have since dropped 11 of 12 away from home.
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 their trip, the second of which came Friday in a 122-113 victory over the Detroit Pistons. Sabonis did his board-sweeping act again with 13 rebounds, this time complementing 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 of winning this season. Malik Monk said the club had an unusual incentive in Wednesday’s 124-123 triumph at Toronto.
“Do it for him,” Monk boasted of the rallying cry following the ejection of coach Mike Brown. “We were getting hacked the whole game and not getting any calls. So Mike just had to take one for the team and bring the energy up, and we just fed off that.”
No such tactics were necessary in the earlier win at Charlotte, where the Kings outgunned 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, P.J. Washington paced the competitive effort with 28 points.
Charlotte lost despite outshooting the visitors 51.2 percent to 43.5 percent.
–Field Level Media