A rugged West Coast swing for the Charlotte Hornets figured to have many challenges. A potential reprieve might be coming Sunday night.
That’s when the Hornets visit the Sacramento Kings, which could become a bit more troublesome since the Kings broke a nine-game losing skid Friday night by winning at Detroit. Sacramento might have an extra dose of energy when playing its first home game since Feb. 18.
“Just the defensive effort,” Kings guard De’Aaron Fox said of what’s needed to build on the latest victory. “That’s one of the hardest things in this league is to be consistent as a player and a team. That’s something we know we can have a stretch of those good games.”
The Hornets are 1-2 so far on the six-stop road trip. The lone victory came with a comeback in Phoenix on Wednesday, 124-121.
Charlotte lost 130-121 on Friday night at Golden State in a rematch of a game won last weekend by the Hornets.
“I don’t think the execution or how we want to play was there in general,” Hornets coach James Borrego said of Friday.
Guard Malik Monk has led the Hornets in scoring the past two games with 29 and 25 points respectively after holding team scoring honors just once previously this season. He has scored 20 or more points in three straight games, something he has done only one other time in his career and that came in April 2018.
“I think he has been aggressive offensively,” Borrego said. “Obviously, he can get his own shot. He’s making threes. … That’s big for our bench to have that scoring punch.”
Monk’s recent consistency has been a boost.
“He’s playing with a clear mind, you can tell,” Hornets guard Terry Rozier said. “We need him.”
The Hornets have allowed at least 120 points in each of their last five defeats. In four of those games, the opponents reached the 130-point mark.
“We’ve got to do a better job in the paint area,” Borrego said. “That is what we’re trying to take care of at the defensive end.”
In the 110-107 victory against the Pistons, there was a successful ending to a five-game road trip for the Kings, who play three of their next four games at home.
“It feels good to get a win,” Fox said. “It’s just one game. It’s a decent feeling, but we just lost nine in a row so it’s not end-all, be-all, I guess.”
Fox leads the Kings with 22.8 points per game after posting 27 points against the Pistons. Fox said a sore middle finger on one of his hands shouldn’t be considered a major problem.
Richaun Holmes provided 19 points and 17 rebounds in the Detroit game. Those were well above his season averages of 13 points and team-high 8.2 rebounds per outing.
The Kings adjusted their roster by signing center Norvel Pelle to a 10-day contract that will take them through the All-Star break. He arrives after a stint in the G League.
The Hornets are likely to play their fifth straight game without guard Devonte’ Graham.
–Field Level Media