Nicolas Batum Leads 8 Hornets Players In Double Digits, Charlotte Beats Kings 131-111.
Charlotte Hornets guard Nicolas Batum is defended by Sacramento Kings player Garrett Temple and Zach Randolph at Golden 1 Center. The Hornets won 131-111. Publicity Agents photo art by T. Ray Harvey. Jan. 2, 2018.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sacramento, Calif. — The Sacramento Kings rung in year 2018 just like they ushered out 2017, with a loss. A real bad loss at Golden 1 Center on Tuesday night.
After falling to the Phoenix Suns 111-101 on Dec. 29 and 114-96 to the Memphis Grizzlies on New Year’s Eve, the Kings opened the New Year with a 131-111 losing cause to the Charlotte Hornets (14-23).
Nicolas Batum led eight players in double digits with 21 points. He also had four assists and four rebounds in nearly 31 minutes.
Dwight Howard had 20 points, eight rebounds, and one blocked shot while Jeremy Lamb added 16 points, five assists, and three steals for the Hornets, who have beaten Kings three-straight times on their home floor. Charlotte made a whopping 51 of 89 shots from the floor at 57.3 percent.
It was Sacramento third-straight loss at home after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 109-95 at home on Dec. 27. The Suns, Grizzlies, and Hornets came to Sacramento with 13 wins or less, each, and everyone left with a W.
“Oh, teams are definitely confident that they can come here and shoot well,” said Kings head coach Dave Joerger. “It’s just what it is until it's not.”
The Hornets also made 15 of 32 shoots from beyond the arc while they collect 25 assists as a unit. To brighten the day, and dampened the Kings’ night, Charlotte committed only three turnovers and grabbed seven steals. What would have been okay to bare, the Kings (12-25) turned ball over 15 times. The Hornets had 15-fastbreak points to the Kings’ three.
“Tonight, we turned the ball over a lot,” said Kings forward Skal Labissiere, who had 17 points and 15 rebounds. “I think that was the story of the game. It might not look right now, but I think we’re playing better with each other. We’ve just got to stop turning the ball over.”
Zach Randolph had 24 points and 10 rebounds and rookie De’Aaron Fox returned to the lineup with 17 points, four assists, three rebounds, and one steal in 33 minutes. The Kings did manage to put 87 shots, knocking down 45 from the field at 51.7 percent. They also outrebounded the Hornets 47-30.
“Honestly, our defense was just okay,” said Hornets acting head coach Stephen Silas. “We scored 130 points or whatever we did, it’s good offense. But to give up 111 points, as a coach, I think we could have done better.”
Publicity Agents OpticalVision. Footage by T. Ray Harvey
To Silas’ dismay, the Hornets were not playing around with the Kings in the first half. Charlotte made 27 of 46 shots from the floor at 58.7 percent on their way to a 72-52 halftime lead. Marvin Williams, Kemba Walker, Howard, and Batum had 10 or more points in the first half.
The Hornets outscored the Horners 32-25 in the first quarter, and then 40-27 in the second quarter. The Kings shot 55.6 percent from the floor in the second quarter, but were doomed by six turnovers and giving up 7 of 11 treys to the Hornets.
The Kings got within 11 points in the third quarter on five occasions, but by the time the fourth quarter started they were down 100-81. None of the Hornets’ starters played the final 12 minutes of the game since it was clearly out of hand.
“I still think our defense could been a lot better,” Howard said of the Hornets, who have won two of their last three games. “We were playing against a young team. They have a couple of veterans over there, but for the most part they are a young team. They’re still learning the game.”
Kings guard De’Aaron Fox played tonight after missing two weeks with a partial tear of the right quadriceps muscle sustained at Minnesota on Dec. 14 when contacting a knee from Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns. The rookie out of Kentucky is averaging 9.4 points, 2.8 rebounds 3.7 assists and 25.1 minutes per contest in 29 games (16 starts).
Additionally, Kings guard Frank Mason is experiencing a right heel contusion and expected to miss approximately one week of action before being re-evaluated at that time. The injury occurred during the waning moments of first quarter play on Sunday against Memphis. A rookie out of Kansas, Mason has posted 7.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 18.9 minutes per contest in 29 games (two starts).
Assistant coach Stephen Silas has been serving as acting head coach while Steve Clifford continues to address his health. Clifford has been away from the team since Dec. 6. There is still no timetable for his return, according to the Hornets.
Dwight Howard has been a major force in the paint for the Hornets. He has 20 double-doubles, (686) for his career. Howard is averaging 15.6 points and 12.3 rebounds this season thus far. He also had a five-game streak of 15-plus rebounds from Oct. 8 to Oct. 27. On Dec. 8, against the Chicago Bulls, Howard recorded 25 points, 20 rebounds, and six-blocked shots.
Kemba Walker has a 21 games of 20-plus points through his first 36 games of the season. The All Star is averaging 21.6 points, 5.6 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game. Walker had 12 points, 10 assists, and two steals against the Kings in 30 minutes.
Johnny O'Bryant III came of the bench to score 16 points on 7 of 9 shots from the field for the Hornets against the Kings.
The Hornets selected guard with the No.11 pick overall in last year’s NBA draft. A former teammate at Kentucky with Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox, Monk has (three-straight) Did-Not-Play Coach’s Decisions. He hasn’t played since Dec. 23 against Milwaukee and hasn’t made a basket in a game since Dec. 20 against the Toronto Raptors at home.
On The Marquee
Sacramento Kings: Host Denver Nuggets on Jan. 6.
Charlotte Hornets: on the road at Los Angeles Lakers Jan. 5.
By T. Ray Harvey | PA Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist
Twitter: Tony Ray Harvey @PublicityAgents
T. Ray (Antonio) Harvey is a Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist for Publicity Agents. Harvey is also the author of The HOMICIDAL HANDYMAN OF OAK PARK: MORRIS SOLOMON JR.