SACRAMENTO KINGS

Preview: Kings look to avenge recent loss to Hornets in rematch

Jan 10, 2024, 9:00 AM | Updated: 10:36 am

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 02: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings reacts with teammate D...

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

While the Sacramento Kings have struggled on the second night of back-to-backs this season, a 2-0 start to their five-game road trip is well within reach.

One day removed from overcoming an early 20-point deficit en route to a 131-110 win over the Detroit Pistons in the ‘Motor City,’ Sacramento (22-14) will look to complete the back-to-back with a win over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.

Charlotte, like Detroit, has struggled this season as the Hornets will enter play with the NBA’s fourth-worst record at 8-26 (4-12 at home).

The Hornets’ record might tell its own story, but one of those eight wins came against the Kings on January 2nd at Golden 1 Center in a game that saw Sacramento allow a 10-0 Charlotte run over the final 90 seconds of play during a 111-104 loss.

This time, the Kings will have a chance to wash away that ugly loss as they will face the Hornets under familiar circumstances, with LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, PJ Washington, and Mark Williams all expected to be unavailable on Wednesday night due to injury.

Can Sacramento capitalize this time?

Sacramento Kings vs. Charlotte Hornets Game Info

When: 4:00 PM PST

Where: Spectrum Center – Charlotte, NC

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Coverage starts at 2:30 PM on Game Night

Line: Kings -8.5, O/U 230.5

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Hornets coverage, beginning at 2:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 4:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Charlotte.

Keep The Offense Rolling

After starting the game in Detroit without a made three-point field goal during the first quarter (0/6), Sacramento went 14-of-30 (46%) from deep during the final three periods during Tuesday night’s win.

The Kings will have to brush off their struggles in back-to-backs and carry over their success into Charlotte, especially after shooting just 43 percent from the field the last time these teams met on January 2nd.

Against the Pistons, Sacramento finished the night with a season-high 82 points in the paint while shooting 57 percent from the field. While replicating those numbers isn’t likely, the Kings will need to outperform its track record on the second night of back-to-backs.

Entering play on Wednesday, Sacramento holds a 1-4 record on the second night of back-to-backs this season while scoring 109.0 points on 43 percent shooting from the field and 29 percent from three-point range.

The Hornets are currently ranked 30th in three-point defense (39.5%), 27th in defensive rating (121.1), 25th in opponent points per game (120.0), and 23rd in points in the paint allowed (52.9) among NBA ranks.

Like last night in Detroit, there are no excuses for this Kings team that has struggled to defeat teams beneath them in the NBA standings.

Keegan’s Rise

Keegan Murray had one of the best showings of his NBA career on Tuesday night.

Murray topped the 30-point mark for the third time in his young career, scoring 32 points on 13-of-17 shooting (five-of-nine from deep) to go along with five rebounds and two blocks over 34 minutes.

The second-year forward scored in various ways, including off-the-dribble and attacking the rim in transition and half-court sets.

Since December 1st, the former fourth-overall pick has looked like a solid third option alongside De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, averaging 17.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.1 steals on 50-43-81 shooting splits over 19 games (12-7 record).

Murray’s emergence as a dual-threat scorer has taken some pressure off of Fox and Sabonis, and Sacramento could use an uptick in aggression from the 23-year-old in the second night of the back-to-back on Wednesday.

Instead of settling for triples, which was primarily the case in the Kings’ previous losses during back-to-backs, a similar approach to Tuesday’s win, where Sacramento set a season-high in paint points, could benefit Murray and his teammates.

Murray isn’t just a long-ball threat anymore. So far this season, he has proven that he can score inside the arc as his confidence grows around the paint.

Notes

  • With a win on Wednesday, the Kings would improve to a season-high nine games over the .500 mark. Last season, Sacramento didn’t hit that mark until February 24th (34-25).
  • Domantas Sabonis is playing like an MVP candidate this season. Over the past 12 games, Sabonis is averaging 23.4 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 9.3 assists on 63 percent shooting from the field while posting seven triple-doubles.

Kings vs. Hornets Injury Report

Sacramento

  • Jordan Ford – OUT (G-League)
  • Jalen Slawson – OUT (G-League)

Charlotte

Upcoming Schedule

  • Wednesday, January 10th – Sacramento Kings @ Charlotte Hornets – 4:00 PM PST
  • Friday, January 12th – Sacramento Kings @ Philadelphia 76ers – 4:30 PM PST
  • Sunday, January 14th – Sacramento Kings @ Milwaukee Bucks – 4:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, January 16th – Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns – 6:00 PM PST
  • Thursday, January 18th – Sacramento Kings vs. Indiana Pacers – 7:00 PM PST

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