Behind Enemy Lines: It’s Defense First, Defense Second in Buzz City


The Sacramento Kings enter Buzz City, aka Charlotte, on Wednesday riding a four game losing streak while allowing their opponents to do layup drills on the court. That isn’t the case with the Charlotte Hornets, who have adopted a “defense first, defense second” approach that has turned around their season.

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Just how tough is it to score on the Hornets? Charlotte is allowing only 96.8 points a game on only 43 percent shooting from the field, and in today’s NBA, that’s a pretty good average. They are even tougher to score against at home, as in their last 13 home games, the Hornets have allowed 100 points or more only three times.

Even in their blowout loss to the Washington Wizards on Monday, the Hornets held John Wall in his crew to 95 points. But that game also highlights a problem that has haunted Charlotte all season long — offense.

In that same game, the Hornets themselves scored only 69 points, and for the season, the Hornets are only scoring 94 points a game, and things got even more complicated for Charlotte on offense when Kemba Walker, their leading scoring, was lost for a month.

But somehow, the Hornets have stayed resilient, through the 4-21 start that could had torpedoed their season, through the Lance Stephenson debacle, and through injuries to the major players, this team has overcome all the odds to be on the verged of making their second straight playoff appearance.

The Kings are going to have their hands full trying to score against Charlotte, but if they can get DeMarcus Cousins to dominate against the Hornets front line, and Rudy Gay stays hot, the Kings could string enough offense together to steal a win in the Queen City.

But just like Atlanta, asking Sacramento to bring their A-plus game to Charlotte is a lot to ask, but it is going to be needed if the Kings doesn’t want to get stung in the Hornet’s Nest.