Charlotte At Sacramento
When: 5:00 PM
ET, Saturday, February 25, 2017
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
The hole the Charlotte Hornets began digging for themselves before the All-Star break continues to grow deeper as the fourth-quarter struggles from prior to the break transferred over on Thursday. The Hornets will try to build a lead and maintain it on Saturday, when they visit the DeMarcus Cousins-less Sacramento Kings.
Charlotte, which suffered a big letdown at Toronto before the break, lost consecutive games when holding a lead of 15 points or more entering the fourth quarter when it squandered an 85-70 advantage entering the final period and lost 114-108 in overtime at Detroit on Thursday. "We're just trying to win a game," Hornets All-Star point guard Kemba Walker told the team's website. "Just trying to find our game. We're just trying our best to get better than what we were playing like before the break but it just looked like we kinda went back to our old ways (in the fourth quarter)." The Kings were expected to take a quick dive out of the postseason race in the West after trading Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans over the break but instead pulled off a 116-100 triumph over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. “We have a goal,” center Willie Cauley-Stein said, according to the Sacramento Bee. "We’re trying to make that eighth spot, so that’s one down, 24 to go. We’re trying to bring that kind of intensity every game for the next 24, and that’s all we really focused on."
TV: 5 p.m. ET, NBATV, FSN Southeast (Charlotte), CSN California (Sacramento)
ABOUT THE HORNETS (24-33): Charlotte dropped five straight and 12 of its last 13 games and has not won on the road since a 120-101 triumph at Orlando on Dec. 28. Thursday's loss marked the second stop of a seven-game road trip bridging the break that now shifts to the West Coast for the final five stops. "We talk about consistency and being more consistent," Walker, who scored 34 points on Thursday coming off his first All-Star appearance, said. "We just can't put a full 48 minutes together. ... We've got to push through. It's going to be a tough road trip for us but we've got to do the hard things and we have to do it for 48 minutes."
ABOUT THE KINGS (25-33): Cauley-Stein was expected to be the beneficiary of some extra playing time with Cousins out of town and immediately took advantage with a career-high 29 points to go with 10 rebounds in 35 minutes on Thursday. "Just come in here, just play hard, shoot the shots I get and play to the best of my ability and God willing, it happened tonight," Cauley-Stein told reporters after the game. "Hopefully I can keep on that every game and find that zone, that zen, to put me in." Rookie power forward Skal Labissiere added a season-high 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting after totaling two points in the first eight games of the month.
1. Hornets C Cody Zeller (quad) was not ready to return on Thursday and remains day-to-day after sitting out for the 11th time in the last 12 games.
2. Kings SGs Buddy Hield and Tyreke Evans, who were acquired from New Orleans in the deal for Cousins, combined for 31 points on Thursday.
3. Sacramento earned a 109-106 win at Charlotte on Jan. 28 behind 35 points and 18 rebounds from Cousins.
PREDICTION: Kings 109, Hornets 101
Stats and Records
Sacramento Off vs
103.2 Points For
104.4 Points Against