What: Charlotte Hornets (20-23) vs. Sacramento Kings (23-21)
When: 7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
After a disappointing six game road stretch where the team was able to notch twoclose victories. The Charlotte Hornets came ready to play Monday against the San Antonio Spurs. With Tony Parker’s first visit to the Alamo City as an opponent, the Hornets were able to capture that emotional atmosphere and seize a much-needed win.
Down the stretch became a series of success, a narrative that hasn’t been seen at any time over the past couple of seasons. With backup center Bismack Biyombo able to confidently shut down one of the league’s best inside scorers in LaMarcus Aldridge, the team was able to never let the lead switch hands in the final frame.
Though the road trip as a whole wasn’t as successful as hoped, the Spurs game put the theoretical into the reality. It showed just how well the Hornets can play with these current group of guys. Everyone seemed to be locked in, and that commitment was there from the opening tip to the final buzzer.
As the team finally grazes their home court for just the second time in the new year, this could be a turning point in getting back to over .500.
For that, they will be up against the Sacramento Kings.
The Sacramento Kings are no longer the laughing stock that they’ve been for the last decade. With an identity at both guard and center spots, the team is a drastically different group of players out on the court.
Head coach Dave Joerger has finally been on the train of playing the team’s younger players over their veterans. That way, there is more opportunity for the developing prospects to learn and adjust to the NBA level. So far, this change in thought has been executed for the greater good. In fact, the Kings in this season (23) nearly have eclipsed their season wins last year (27) with a few weeks away from the all-star break.
The three-headed monster of De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Bogdan Bogdanovic have exceeded their expectations for this season. They are all each properly skilled in the scoring department, each with their own unique style of putting the ball in the basket. For Fox, having a slasher’s mentality has become a great complimentary piece to Hield and Bogdanovic’s outside shot. The trio combined for a tantalizing 89 in their win against the Hornets last week.
Frontcourt changes have also been evident for the Kings, as the days of Zach Randolph and Kosta Koufos clogging up the minutes are over. In comes the new batch of talent in the form of number two overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Marvin Bagley, along with the 2015 lottery pick Willie Cauley-Stein. Both have made their contribution to their new role, and have been an essential part in making this Kings team acceptable league wide.
For the Hornets, they have to modify their game plan to match the intensity of the Kings. Sacramento has used their young, fresh legs to their advantage as they’re second in the NBA in pace. Having this constant notion of movement means that the Hornets will use more wing-heavy lineup sets in order to match the transition opportunities the Kings might bring. Expect to see a lot of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Miles Bridges defending either forward position in this one.
Perimeter defense is also a point of emphasis that the Hornets need to stay firm is. The Kings shoot the second-best percentage from three-point land at 38.9 percent. The Hornets had this same agenda against the Spurs and were able to limit them to a modest 35 percent from that area. Continuing to play that style on the defensive end should bring success for the team in all stages of the game.
After a nagging, endless road trip the Charlotte Hornets are back to the place they call home. With an opportunity to correct their mistakes from their last head-to-head match-up. they can finally move forward in the right direction with a win.