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HORNETS VS. KINGS

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TUESDAY DECEMBER 17 7:00PM

Hornets Begin Homestand Looking for 6th Straight Win Over Suns

by Sam Perley

A much-welcomed, five-game homestand gets underway for the Charlotte Hornets tonight as they’ll kick things off against the Phoenix Suns starting at 7 PM EST at Spectrum Center.

Following consecutive wins over Detroit last week, the Hornets fell flat on Saturday night with a 137-96 road loss in Milwaukee. Offensive guard play was a bright spot for Charlotte as Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier combined for 43 points and 9-of-17 shooting from three-point range. More so though, it was an outing the team needs to quickly put in the rearview mirror.

“The only thing I can take is fuel for the next game. That’s it. That’s all I saw,” said Coach Borrego. “Give Milwaukee a lot of credit. The only thing I saw tonight is that we have to use it as fuel for Monday night.” Marvin Williams added, “It wasn’t our best night, but take nothing away from Milwaukee. It was just a rough night for us, but we’ll learn from it and get on with Monday.”

Phoenix somewhat unexpectedly started the season 7-4, but has come back to earth quickly having lost six of its last seven thanks to injuries and absences. The Suns own the NBA’s sixth-best offensive rating (110.7) and 19th-best defensive rating (108.9), while ranking second in assists (27.6), third in points scored off turnovers (19.6 PPG) and fourth in passes (306.9).

Thanks to the summer addition of PG Ricky Rubio (13.5 PPG and 7.8 APG), SG Devin Booker is now playing more off the ball, allowing him to put up 24.5 PPG, while shooting career highs from the field (51.0%), three point (41.9%) and free-throw line (95.6%). SF Kelly Oubre Jr. (17.5 PPG) and C Aron Baynes (14.7 PPG on 43.9% 3P shooting) are also having career years.

Charlotte has cleaned up the turnovers over its last four outings, recording just 9.5 per game (16.3 in previous 17 outings). And if the Hornets want to notch a sixth straight win over Phoenix, they’ll need tight ball security once again, to avoid playing into their opponent’s primary strength and be physical down low with Baynes and Dario Šarić.

Game Notes: C DeAndre Ayton (league suspension) and G Ty Jerome (right ankle sprain) will not play for Phoenix… Charlotte has won four straight home games against the Suns… This will be Phoenix C Frank Kaminsky’s first game against the Hornets since leaving the organization in free agency this past summer.

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