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Kings 101, Hornets 91: Sacramento thrills the home crowd

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Despite yet another game without DeMarcus Cousins, the Sacramento Kings were able to overcome their ailments and beat the Charlotte Hornets for a clean sweep of the season series.  The Kings took the lead early thanks to hot shooting from Rudy Gay and never really gave it up.  Gay ended up leading all scorers with 33 points on 11-20 shooting to go along with 9 rebounds and 4 assists.  Gerald Henderson led the Hornets with 20 points.

The Kings tried out yet another different starting lineup, this time playing Rudy at PF and inserting Omri Casspi at SF.  The lineup seemed to work well although there was some initial sloppiness as Sacramento committed 8 turnovers in the first quarter alone.  21 total Sacramento turnovers were about the only thing keeping Charlotte in the game as the Hornets managed to shoot at just a 39.6% clip from the field for the game.

Sacramento was uncharacteristically hot from outside for most of the first half, tying the season-high of 8 three pointers made in a half.  The law of averages finally kicked in after the break however and they made just one more long ball for the rest of the game.

The Hornets weren't able to generate much offense aside from Henderson, Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson.  Jefferson did most of his damage early, scoring 11 points in the first quarter but ending the game with just 17 points overall.  Walker scored 18 points on 18 shots and went just 1-5 from beyond the arc.  The only other Hornet to score in double-digits was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

While Gay had a huge game scoring-wise, the rest of the Kings were more balanced.  Only Omri Casspi (10 points) and Derrick Williams (13 points) also scored in double-digits but five other Kings players scored at least 7 points.  Andre Miller was once again fantastic running the offense and added a game-high 7 assists to go with his 7 points.  Reggie Evans wasn't able to score much but did find a way to be effective by snatching all the rebounds in sight to finish the game with 16 in just over 20 minutes.

The Kings now have a day off before they end their homestand with a visit from the Washington Wizards.  Hopefully they'll have DeMarcus Cousins back by then.

For the opponent's perspective, visit At The Hive.

Random Observations:

  • Nik Stauskas sure is less shy lately.  He nailed his first two threes on back-to-back plays in the first half but wasn't able to connect on any shots afterwards.  Still I liked the continued aggressiveness.
  • Rudy was plain disrespectful on some of the shots he made.  Mind you, these weren't exactly smart basketball plays, but they were also soul crushers for the opposing team given how easy he made difficult shots look.
  • Bismack Biyombo will NOT be sending Derrick Williams a Christmas Card.  Williams straight up murdered Biyombo on a couple of monster jams.  We'll have video of those dunks in a separate post shortly.  Andre Miller deserves as much praise for the passes as Williams does for the finishes.
  • Omri Casspi excels at the little euro-step and adjust in the lane.  If he gets into the paint he has a way of being able to adjust and make the shot, even if its well-contested.
  • No Kings player had a negative +/- tonight. Interesting.
  • Ray McCallum has a future as a scoring guard off the bench.  I just don't think he's a good enough distributor or playmaker to be a full-time starter in this league, at least in the near future.