Sacramento Kings vs Charlotte Hornets: Another Bump in the Road Trip?


The Sacramento Kings continue their eight game, east coast swing tonight in Charlotte, when they take on the Hornets.

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The Kings will look to get back on track against a Hornets squad that has been hot of late. For the Kings, the current road trip hasn’t been kind to them. They are 1-4 through five games including, two blowout losses to San Antonio and most recently to Atlanta.

The games against Orlando and Miami were winnable games that they let slip away in the fourth quarter, which if I’m being perfectly honest isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Despite a checkered NBA Draft history, retaining a pick in the top 10 now becomes huge for the Kings. Even if Sacramento don’t actually select the player themselves, a top 10 pick is a huge asset that would allow them to garner a talented player and potentially cast of a salary that is limiting what the Kings can do. I’m looking at you Carl Landry.

This draft has talent at the top that could make a real difference for this team next season, including Willie Cauley-Stein, who could add the rim protection the Kings desperately need, and allow them to address other needs in free agency.

Back to tonight’s game against the Hornets, who enter tonight’s game winning five of their last six games. The month of March has been good to Charlotte, who unlike Sacramento, is in the middle of the playoff race in the East. Currently they are a half game ahead of the Miami Heat for the eight and final playoff spot.

Mo Williams has been huge for the Hornets, since coming over at the trade deadline. He is averaging 20 points and 10.2 assists per game in 35 minutes in the month of March. Gerald Henderson has also stepped his game up since March started averaging 14.3 points per game and shooting almost 44% from three, up on his season average that hovered in the low 30’s.

And to add insult to injury, Kemba Walker, who has been sidelined for nearly a month, could return tonight, giving Charlotte much needed firepower on the offensive end.

Nov 2, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings power forward Jason Thompson(34) on defense against the Golden State Warriors during the second quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Three Keys for tonight’s game:

Defend the Guard spot:

Ray McCallum, Andre Miller, and Ben McLemore will all need to bring a good defensive effort if they want to get a win tonight. Williams and Henderson’s play has elevated recently and has been a big part of their recent hot streak, and if Walker comes back, that will be even more of a headache for Sacramento.

DeMarcus Cousins

This one is kind of obvious, but our do it all big guy will be key on both ends of the floor. He will need to have a game similar to the the game in Miami, where he went for 27 points, 17 rebounds and 3 assists.

Jason Thompson

JT will have his hands full with Al Jefferson tonight. Jefferson can post up and step out for mid range jump shots. He is also an excellent passer, and Thompson tends to play really well against power forwards and centers that play physical. I expect a strong effort on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, he just needs to stay active and fight for rebounds.

Sacramento Kings at Charlotte Hornets

Where: Time Warner Cable Arena – Charlotte, North Carolina

When: 4:00 PM Pacific, 7:00 PM Eastern

Broadcast: Comcast Sportsnet California

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM