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Hornets Looking to Close February on High Note in Sacramento

by Sam Perley

  • Charlotte Hornets (15-17) at Sacramento Kings (13-20)
  • Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021 at 10 PM EST (Golden 1 Center)
  • Fox Sports Southeast, FOX Sports GO App and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM
  • Last time out: Hornets won, 110-102 on Dec. 17, 2019 in Charlotte

Hornets Getting Major Spark Off the Bench from Malik Monk

Malik Monk started off the month with a career-high 36-point eruption down in Miami and will now look to end it in similar fashion tonight in Sacramento. Over his past five games, the fourth-year guard is averaging 20.8 points on 49% shooting, while knocking down four threes a night on a 48% clip. He also ranks fifth in the NBA in bench scoring this month at 16.3 points per game (mini. 10 GP). “He's been great,” said teammate Terry Rozier. “You know he’s playing with a clear mind and you can tell, he's letting that thing fly. We’ve been needing him and I'm just happy to see him play the way he's playing.” 

Defense Playing a Major Factor in Sacramento’s Recent Struggles 

The Kings finally snapped a nine-game losing streak on Friday night with a 110-107 road win in Detroit, despite not having rookie sensation Tyrese Haliburton available (left calf soreness). It was presumably a much-welcomed defensive effort after the team registered an NBA-worst 123.6 rating and the third-lowest net rating (-10.6) during its slide from Feb. 9-25. Glaringly conceding the most paint points per game in the NBA this season (52.2), Sacramento still ranks as the league’s bottom defense by a wide margin (118.4), although is showing signs of life after its win over the Pistons two days ago.  

Charlotte Needs to Continue Proficient 3-Point Shooting 

Often times if a team is struggling defensively in one particular area, it’s due to concentrated efforts elsewhere. Such is not the case for the Kings though, as they also rank 29th in the NBA in opposing three-point percentage (40.3%) and 23rd in opponent long-distance makes per game. (13.5). Charlotte has now nailed double-digit threes in a franchise-record 17 consecutive games on 40% shooting (15.0 per game) after averaging 12.7 on 36% shooting across the first 15 outings of the season. Expect the likes of Rozier, LaMelo Ball, PJ Washington, Monk and more to get the Hornets settled in quickly from behind the arc in this one. 

Preview Quote

“We were rushing. We were trying to shoot really fast and we could have slowed the pace down and gotten a good shot when [the Warriors] would score. They were going on some runs and we were trying to eliminate the run with one shot. I think for us, we just have to slow down and try and get good shots when they are on runs.” – PJ Washington’s following the team’s 130-121 road loss in Golden State on Friday night. 

Final Thoughts

The Hornets will now look to get back to .500 on their six-game road trip as they cross the halfway point of the voyage with tonight’s outing in Sacramento. There’s no such thing as an easy NBA win, but considering the way the Kings have been performing lately, this is a game Charlotte needs to have, especially with the second leg of a back-to-back looming in Portland on Monday evening. 

Additional Notes

C Cody Zeller (left hip contusion) did not play for Charlotte on Friday night. G Devonte’ Graham (left knee patella femoral discomfort) has missed the team’s last four games… In addition to Haliburton, F Chimezie Metu (right wrist fracture), C Hassan Whiteside and F Jabari Parker (both Health and Safety Protocols) also missed Sacramento’s last game… The Hornets have taken three straight and six of the last seven against the Kings (lone loss: 104-97 in Sacramento on Jan. 12, 2019)

 

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