When: 10:00 p.m. EST
Where: Golden 1 Center; Sacramento, CA
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Kings were one of the big stories of the early part of the season. They bucked expectations and held a winning record and a playoff spot for a big chunk of the season. They’ve since cooled off, but these still aren’t your older brother’s Kings.
Dave Joerger has his young group playing at an extremely fast pace. They average 104.86 possessions per game. It’s second in the league this season behind the Hawks, but it’s faster than any other team has played in the last 20 seasons. They don’t take many 3-pointers, but only the Spurs connect on a higher percentage.
The Kings are led by the back court of De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Heild. Fox has taken a jump in his sophomore season, scoring 17.9 points and dishing 7.3 assists per game while hitting 38% of his 3-point attempts. He might be the fastest player in the league from end to end; he’ll destroy the Hornets if they continue to slack in defensive transition. Hield is reaching the potential that made him the sixth overall pick in 2016. He leads the team in scoring at just over 20 points per game and is hitting over 44% of his 7.3 3-point attempts per game. He’ll destroy the Hornets if they continue to leave shooters open on the perimeter.
This is a winnable game for the Hornets, in theory. They have a better net rating than the Kings and have the talent to beat them, but the Kings excel offensively where the Hornets struggle defensively. If the Hornets’ effort doesn’t improve, this could be another long night.