The Hornets have played five games in seven nights, including two back-to-backs, during their grueling West Coast road trip and last night fatigue caught up with them in their 104-97 loss to the Kings. The defeat snaps a 3-game winning streak against Sacramento.
The game was close for most of the contest with the Hornets narrowing a six point 1st quarter deficit to two by the break. The Kings came out after halftime with a strong third quarter - out-scoring the Hornets 25-17 during the period. Kemba and the Hornets would fight back with a 9-0 fourth quarter run after going down by 10 to cut the lead to three with 5:37 remaining on the clock, but Sacramento would close the door on any comeback hopes with a 12-8 run to close the game.
Despite the loss, Head Coach James Borrego was happy with the way his team competed.
“Tonight we had a better spirit. We competed from the jump for 48 minutes. We can live with that. We had good looks down the stretch. We were in that game the entire way and gave ourselves a chance defensively. We locked in defensively probably against the best transition team in the league - holding them four fast break points. I think we competed. We didn’t execute as much as we’d like down the stretch or make shots, but I thought we had good looks and I liked our competitiveness tonight.”
One area of improvement the Hornets will look at heading into Tony Parker’s return to San Antonio on Monday is turnovers. Charlotte coughed up the ball 20 times (matching a season high) leading to 18 Sacramento points.
“We turned it over a little bit too much,” Coach Borrego added after the game. “We were trying to execute, trying to make the right play – give them credit. They turned us over in this game. Give Sacramento credit. We could have better.”
Kemba Walker finished with a game high 31 points and Nicholas Batum added 13 in the loss. Three Sacramento players, including Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, finished with more than 20 points.
Charlotte will wrap up their West Coast swing at San Antonio Monday Night.