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Preview: Hornets look to end their eight-game skid tonight in Sacramento

It’s a tale of two teams going in opposite directions as the Hornets visit the surging Sacramento Kings.

Charlotte Hornets v Sacramento Kings Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

What: Charlotte Hornets (7-23) at Sacramento Kings (16-12)

When: 10:00 pm EST

Where: Golden 1 Center; Sacramento, CA

How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

It’s official: At 7-23 and riding an eight-game losing steak, the Charlotte Hornets have the NBA’s worst record. The Hornets first 30 games couldn’t have gone much worse. On the flip side, the Sacramento Kings are shockingly good this year after a decade and a half of incompetence.

It will be a showdown tonight of two teams whose trajectories are going in opposite directions.

Sacramento Kings overview

The Kings are led by point guard De’Aaron Fox and center Domantas Sabonis, a two-time All-Star. Fox is having a solid season averaging 22.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. His respectable 34.8% 3-point percentage this year is by far the best of his career. Sabonis is extremely versatile as evidenced by his 17.7 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game. He’s not a defensive stopper, but his offensive game and rebounding skills more than make up for that.

Sacramento’s starting five is rounded out by shooting guard Kevin Huerter (15.2 PPG, 41.3% 3PT), forward Harrison Barnes (13.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG), and power forward Keegan Murray (11.9 PPG, 37.0% 3PT).

The Kings bench consists of point guard Davion Mitchell (6.3 PPG), former Hornet wing Malik Monk (14.7 PPG, 34.6% 3PT) who will probably have one of his random 30-point games tonight, shooting guard Terence Davis (7.5 PPG), and power forward Trey Lyles (5.8 PPG).

How the Hornets can win

Right when LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward get healthy, Terry Rozier gets dinged up. Rozier played just 14 minutes last night before leaving with a right hip contusion and his status for tonight’s game is up in the air. Cody Martin, Mark Williams, and Dennis Smith Jr. have also been missing time. Just getting healthy and consistent rotations is what the Hornets need most.

But the Hornets don’t have the luxury of health. They’re going to need to play this second game of a west coast back-to-back with the players they have available. LaMelo Ball is one of the few players in the NBA whose quickness and length can match up with De’Aaron Fox. If LaMelo can turn Fox into a jump shooter by limiting his transition buckets and points in the paint, it would go a long way toward a Hornets victory.

But wins have been hard for this Hornets team, and tonight will be another tough road contest. It’s going to take a full team effort - and maybe an off night from the Kings - for the Hornets to snap their discouraging eight-game losing streak tonight.