Charlotte Hornets

Sloppiness with and without the ball dooms Kings to third straight loss


Sloppiness with and without the ball dooms Kings to third straight loss

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings are moving the wrong direction. After three straight losses at home to teams at the bottom of the standings, it’s time for the club to have some serious conversations.

Sacramento played hot potato with the ball in the half, handing over the rock 10 times before the intermission, which led to 18 points for Charlotte. They allowed 72 points at the break and trailed by 20 heading into the third.

“We came out two of the first three possessions and dribbled the ball off our leg to the other team,” head coach Dave Joerger said following the team’s 131-111 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday evening. “Nobody is trying to do that and we’ve just got to keep plugging away.”

The starting backcourt of George Hill and De’Aaron Fox accounted for five of those early mistakes as Charlotte built a huge lead. Most of the Kings’ mistakes led to easy transition baskets for the Hornets.

“We’re just trying to figure it out,” Skal Labissiere said. “Tonight we turned the ball over a lot - I think it was the story of the game.”

Not only were the Kings sloppy with the ball, but they offered little resistance to the Hornets on the defensive end.

“We don’t guard a soul, haven’t defended a soul,” a clearly frustrated Garrett Temple said. “If you don’t guard in the NBA, you’re going to lose every game, I don’t care who you play. We haven’t defended whatsoever, at all, point blank.”

Charlotte, a team that came into the night with a record of 13-23, ran circles around the Kings’ defense. They shot a blistering 57.3 percent from the field and matched their season-high with 15 made 3-point attempts.

“There are times as a young team where we score, then we relax defensively or we’re playing faster and we relax defensively a lot,” Joerger said. “It’s like, ‘your turn, our turn, your turn, our turn.’”

To compound matters, the Kings forced the Hornets into just three turnovers on the evening. It’s hard to keep up when you get outscored 20-5 on points off of turnovers.

There were a few positives to take away from the loss. Fox returned to action after missing six games with a right quad tear. He finished the night with 17 points and four assists in 33 minutes of action, although eight of those points came once the game was out of reach in the fourth.

“I thought for my first game being back, playing that many minutes, that was good for me,” Fox said. “Just trying to get my wind back.”

Zach Randolph continued to put up numbers for Sacramento, dropping in 24 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes.

Labissiere started alongside Z-Bo on the front line and added 17 points and a season-high 15 boards. It was only the second double-double of the season for the Kings’ power forward.

With the loss, Sacramento fell to 6-11 on their home floor this season and 12-25 overall. They’ll get three days of practice to prepare for the high-powered Denver Nuggets on Saturday evening and then wrap up the homestand Monday against the San Antonio Spurs.

Gameday: Battle down low is the matchup to watch as Kings host Hornets


Gameday: Battle down low is the matchup to watch as Kings host Hornets

SACRAMENTO -- Fresh off a tough loss to the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday evening, the Sacramento Kings return to their home court to start the new year Tuesday. They’ll face an underachieving Charlotte Hornets team that’s still struggling to find their way.

The Kings put up one of their worst performances of the season against Memphis, falling behind by as many as 33 on their home floor. Willie Cauley-Stein put up solid numbers, finishing with 21 points and eight rebounds, but he was one of just three Sacramento players to score in double-figures in the 114-96 loss.

Charlotte is a veteran team that’s fallen on hard times. Coach Steve Clifford’s team shoots the lowest field goal percentage in the league at 43.5 percent, but they get to the free throw line an NBA best 27.8 times per game.

Hornets by 3.5

Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Dwight Howard -- There was a time when Howard was the most feared big man in the game. He isn’t the player he once was, but he still manages to average 15.6 points and 12.3 rebounds per game in his 14th season in the NBA. Cauley-Stein is improving with each month, posting 13.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in December. The 24-year-old big man is heading in the right direction, but he’ll need to work overtime to keep Howard off the glass.

Kings: 12-24, fourth place in Pacific

Hornets: 13-23, third place in Southeast

Kings: PG De’Aaron Fox (thigh tear) is available to play, PG Frank Mason III (right heel contusion) will miss at least one week of action, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) is out and the team has yet to give a timetable for his return.

Hornets: C Cody Zeller (knee) out.

Battle on the Boards -- Charlotte is one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA, coming in at No. 4 with 46.7 boards per game. Sacramento has struggled on the glass, grabbing just 39.9 rebounds a night, which ranks 29th in the league. They’ll need to keep a body on Howard and rebound as a team or the Hornets could have a field day.

Home Court Advantage -- The Kings are in the middle of a six-game homestand and so far, it’s been a little rocky. After beating the Cavs, Sacramento has dropped two winnable games to the Suns and Grizzlies. They sit at 6-10 at Golden 1 Center this season, despite sellout crowds every night.

Mason out, Fox in -- Frank Mason injured his heel in the Kings loss to Memphis on Sunday and left on crutches. He’'ll miss at least one week. De’Aaron Fox has practiced, and was cleared to play by the Kings.

This is the first of two matchups between these two teams this season after a 1-1 split of the series last year. The Hornets hold a 28-26 advantage over the Kings all-time.  

“We got our butt kicked. It’s not fun losing. We’ve got to figure it out.” -George Hill after the Kings’ loss to the Grizzlies

Gameday: Warriors hope to keep scoring rhythm going vs Hornets


Gameday: Warriors hope to keep scoring rhythm going vs Hornets

OAKLAND -- The Warriors believe they found their rhythm in with a scorching second half Wednesday and they hope it will be with them Friday night, when they face the Hornets at Oracle Arena.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30, with tipoff scheduled for 7:35.

After failing to score 50 points in four of five halves against Denver, Cleveland and Utah, the Warriors used hot defense and hotter shooting (71.7 percent) to ring up 78 points after halftime, tying their season-high, against the Jazz.

While the Warriors (28-7) have won 13 of their last 14 games, the Hornets (12-22) are going in the opposite direction, losing 13 of their last 17 and 19 of their last 26.


Warriors by 10.5


Shaun Livingston & Co. vs. Kemba Walker: Everything the Hornets do revolves around their tough little (6-foot-1) point guard. He’s their leading scorer (21.6 points per game), their leading playmaker (5.8 assists) and his PER (19.8) is the highest on the team. Livingston likely will start, but Pat McCaw will also get his opportunities.


Warriors: F Omri Casspi (R ankle sprain) and G Stephen Curry (R ankle sprain) are listed as out.

Hornets: F/C Cody Zeller (L knee surgery) is listed as out.


Warriors: 9-1. Hornets: 3-7.


Marc Davis (crew chief), Dedric Taylor, Justin Van Duyne


The Warriors won the first of two meetings this season, 101-87, on Dec. 6 in Charlotte, swept both meetings last season and have won the last seven overall.


INTENSITY LEVEL: Charlotte is struggling, but it’s not from lack of effort. They follow Walker’s lead and he’s as mentally tough as anyone in the league. He simply doesn’t quit. The Warriors are prone to lapses early in the game and also once they build a large lead. That propensity could invite trouble against the Hornets, as five of their 12 wins have come as a result of wiping out double-digit leads.

THE OTHER WINGS: Though Andre Iguodala is productive, he’s still searching for his shot; he’s shooting 42.7 percent, 24.1 percent from deep. Pat McCaw, however, seems to be coming out of his early-season doldrums. He’s 16-of-29 over his last four games (55.2 percent), though only 2-of-10 (20 percent from deep). When either of these wings is scoring efficiently, the Warriors are practically impossible to guard.

OH, DWIGHT: Once an elite center, Howard is trying to recapture the mojo he enjoyed in Orlando. He’s having a decent season, averaging 15.5 points (53.5 percent from the field) and 12.4 rebounds (third in the NBA). The Warriors have seen plenty of Howard in recent years and handled him well; he totaled 14 points and seven rebounds three weeks ago in Charlotte. It’s a trend they’d like to continue.