The Charlotte Hornets lost their fourth straight game on Saturday night, failing to execute on the final possessions and dropping a 109-106 nail biter to the visiting Sacramento Kings.
DeMarcus Cousins had 35 points and 18 rebounds and generally had his way all night in the post against the depleted Hornets frontline.
Kemba Walker got off to a slow start in the first half, but came roaring back, scoring 20 of his 26 points in the third quarter. It was his second game this year with a 20 point quarter.
It wasn't enough.
Charlotte again went into battle without Cody Zeller, their anchor in the paint. The Hornets are simply unequipped to win games when he doesn't play; they are now 1-10 on the season when he is out of the lineup.
Nicolas Batum did his part, putting up 19 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, including two huge three pointers down the closing stretch.
Charlotte had now answer for Cousins though, and the Kings wisely exploited this obvious weakness, dumping the ball to their superstar in the low post over and over again in the fourth quarter.
Marvin Williams got assigned much of the Boogie-duty on the night, and was simply overmatched. He made a valiant effort but was giving up a lot of size in a clear mismatch. Michael Kidd-Gilgchrist provided aggressive, tough help defense, and grabbed 5 defensive rebounds for the Hornets.
The Hornets shot just 32 percent from three point range on the night. Three of their main contributors in that area had less than stellar nights and were inconsistent throughout the game. Marco Belinelli shot 1 of 7 from long range, while Marvin Williams and Frank Kaminsky both went 2 of 8.
After a Demarcus Cousins bucket gave the Kings the go ahead two point lead with 15 seconds left, the Hornets inbounded at Halfcourt. Kemba got the ball and looked to be setting the stage for another of his signature game winners. He penetrated along the baseline but was pinned too far under the basket to make anything happen. With all of the defense swarming towards him, he was forced against the baseline and leaping, kick out pass to a wide open Kaminsky, who was set at the three point line.
The shot missed everything.
January 29, 2017