The Sacramento Kings hosted the Charlotte hornets in the Golden 1 Center looking for a win anywhere they could find it. The Hornets were coming off three straight losses and needed to show that this team can get a win against this type of competition. Only one team could come out of this equation with hope still alive, and the Hornets got it done.
Both these teams came into this game wanting to push the ball up the court. They ran the court like they were doing suicides in practice. That type of play allows teams to put up large numbers on the scoreboards and covers up for holes in their defensive game. That is all well and good if you keep can be controlled and measured in your transition offense. The Hornets could not manage both at once. By the first half they had committed 8 turnovers and paid for it on the scoreboard.
The Kings came into the game winless on the season and played with the desperation needed to win. Richaun Holmes, who started over hipster favorite Dewayne Dedmon, ate a late dinner in the paint versus Zeller and the other Hornets big men. It seems self evident to write but it doesn’t matter how many points you score if your opponent scores more. So the pace can increase as much as Borrego may want but the Hornets have to get stops at the other end.
PJ Washington put in work on the outside and on the block. The versatility of his game is so encouraging to see because there is so much to build on. One of those building blocks should be rebounding. In small spurts, the combination of Rozier and Graham as the guards on the court worked well. It will be interesting to see if Borrego explores that line-up in the future. Cody Zeller put in the work with rebounds and second chance points that kept the Hornets in the game. His screen game is why players like PJ and Graham get open for those threes.
Rozier had the best game he’s had as a Hornet. Beside the box score, he ran the offense with purpose. And when the offense stalled, he’d take a shovel pass from Cody and hit an unorganized three. If he can take the reigns of this team and turn his passion into leadership there is some light at the end of that sixty million dollar tunnel. The live ball of the Borrego offense can really fit his game and get open shots beyond the arc.
But the win came through team basketball. With seven hornets in double digits and the best assist tally of the season it was what you want to see as a spread offense team. Even in a season where wins may come few and hard won, to see this group of players come together and flow through the offense is worth the late night. The Warriors are next on the docket and Steph Curry might want to convince Michael Jordan that he is hall of fame material.