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Hornets 99 - Kings 85: Blowout at Home

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Sacramento falls back to earth against the Hornets.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Sacramento Kings Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Walking into the game this afternoon, the Charlotte Hornets had lost five games in a row and twelve of the past thirteen, but Steve Clifford’s team took advantage of Sacramento’s lack of experience and chemistry on their way to a blowout that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. Ben McLemore led the Kings in scoring with 18 points while Frank Kaminsky put in 23 of his own and pulled down 13 rebounds.

The game started out poorly for the hometown team as the Hornets ran out to a 12-0 lead behind a balanced scoring attack from Charlotte and silly mistakes by the Kings. Dave Joerger called a much needed timeout and his starting lineup of Darren Collison, Tyreke Evans, Ben McLemore, Anthony Tolliver, and Kosta Koufos responded with a quick 15-0 run of their own, driven by Tolliver’s 8 points in 1:38. But after the mini-spark, the Hornets were still in control of the game and never trailed after they retook the lead, 16-15. The Kings young guns all got early minutes for the second straight game as Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere, and Buddy Hield received first quarter minutes. Nicholas Batum and Marvin Williams led the way for the Hornets, each scoring five points, and Charlotte walked away with a 24-19 lead after one period.

The second quarter was much the same story as the Kings struggled to contain the Hornets offense and their shots were clanking off of the rim left and right. After shooting an abysmal 37% from the floor in the first quarter, Sacramento followed that up with a miserable 8/21 on shot attempts. Ty Lawson and Darren Collison struggled mightily as they combined for only 7 points (2/5 FG), 4 assists, and 4 rebounds while Tyreke Evans was the Kings best player in the first half with a typical 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Frank Kaminsky took over the game with his shooting, scoring 10 points on 4/4 shooting, including hitting two of his three attempts from deep. The deficit grew to 11 points as the Kings went to the locker room down 51-40.

The new starters were once again steamrolled by the Hornets to star the second half as Charlotte went on another 12-0 run to begin the third quarter. Frank the Tank continued to take apart the Sacramento defense, putting in 11 points, including three 3 pointers. The Kings lack of a go-to scorer was on full display as they only scored 18 points in the quarter.

The final period was pretty much 12 minutes of garbage time with the Kings being down 79-58. Sacramento’s young core was the main unit for the 4th quarter with a lineup of Langston Galloway, Buddy Hield, Ben McLemore, Skal Labissiere, and Willie Cauley-Stein. The Bahamian Baller showed another glimpse of his potential in the meaningless minutes as he scored 13 points in the quarter.

Player of the Game

Skal Labissiere

8 points (4/10 FG), 13 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal

The 28th pick in the draft was probably the lone highlight for anyone that was unfortunate enough to watch the game. While Willie Cauley-Stein fell back to earth with 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 3 blocks, the Haitian Sensation was impressive for the second game in row. Skalifornia Dreamin not only plays hard, but he tends to be in the right spot at the right time. He’s also a clear irritant to other big men as he constantly tugs on jerseys, digs elbows in ribs, and hustles for offensive rebounds.

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