Game Preview: Sacramento Kings (5-9) Look to Swat Charlotte Hornets (7-6)


The Sacramento Kings (5-9) are looking to break the Charlotte Hornets (7-6) five game winning streak at Time Warner Cable Arena tonight. The obvious battle will be in the paint between Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins and the Hornets Al Jefferson. But the real match up might be coming from beyond the arc.

Al Jefferson isn’t stacking the stat sheet this season like he is known to do, averaging only 15.2 points and 6.7 rebounds. He will have his hands full trying to defend Cousins who put up 29 points, 12 boards, 6 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks in a win over the Magic in Orlando.

DeMarcus is known for his strong desire for the Kings to win. His passion can sometimes strike out in explosions of expletives on and off the court, and petty fouling. Coach George Karl recently talked about Boogie’s attitude to the Sac Bee and how it can affect the team.

"“Cuz is a frustrated guy that wants to win,” Karl said. “Sometimes it gets to him in a negative way, but he cares and wants to win. He lashes out sometimes in maybe a disruptive way, but he’s doing it because he wants to win.”"

Sacramento has had defensive lapses this season. The second unit still seems unsure of their switch rotations. This is a concern for them because the Hornets have been shooting 41.5 percent from the three-point line at home. That means the Kings HAVE TO DEFEND THE PERIMETER.

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I really can’t stress that enough. Charlotte is shooting 36.7 percent from long distance and is sixth in attempts at 26.4 per game. The Kings HAVE TO DEFEND THE PERIMETER.

The Kings have improved their three-point shooting this season and the Hornets need to defend the perimeter as well, with Omri Casspi, Darren Collison and Marco Bellineli being a threat from the 3 point line, along with DeMarcus and Rajon Rondo(!) getting in on the action as well. Opposing defenses have elected to double Cousins, instead of defending the 3-point-line, which has encouraged the Kings to fire away.

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Casspi stepped up in Orlando recording his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Ben Mclemore has slowly been gaining his confidence back and a strong scoring game from Ben would be needed to beat the Hornets at home.

Sacramento started off this road trip with two losses before holding off the Magic on Saturday for their first road win.  But the Kings were expecting this Eastern road trip to be a success, and for that to happen they need to win In Charlotte. Casspi expressed that same sentiment on Saturday.

Aside from a strong defensive showing, the Kings need to control the ball better than they have been and keep the turnovers to a minimum if they want a big W today.

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The Hornets could be seeing the return of Cody Zeller and P.J. Hairston who have sat out with injuries the past few games.