Hor­nets lose third straight de­spite Walker’s 31 points

The Charlotte Observer - - Front Page - BY ROB GLOSTER As­so­ci­ated Press

The Sacra­mento Kings usu­ally try to run past op­po­nents or win games from be­hind the 3-point line. They are also learn­ing they can tri­umph by play­ing solid de­fense and lim­it­ing their mis­takes on of­fense.

Bog­dan Bog­danovic scored 22 points, Wil­lie Cauley-Stein had his sec­ond straight dou­ble-dou­ble with 12 points and 12 re­bounds, and the Kings beat the road-weary Char­lotte Hor­nets 104-97 on Satur­day night.

The Kings, who com­mit­ted just 11 turnovers com­pared to 20 by Char­lotte, are 7- 0 this sea­son when hold­ing an op­po­nent be­low 100 points. Ear­lier this week, Sacra­mento had 26 turnovers in a loss at Phoenix.

“This was kind of a gritty win. We stuck to­gether, kept com­pet­ing de­fen­sively and got stops,” Kings coach Dave Jo­erger said. “A good win for us.”

De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield each scored 21 points for the Kings, who im­proved to 10-3 against East­ern Con­fer­ence teams. The Hor­nets fell to 2-11 against teams from the West.

Kemba Walker had 31 points de­spite go­ing 3 for 12 on 3-point­ers for the Hor­nets, who have lost three straight and five of six. Char­lotte is 5-15 away from home this sea­son, and is 1- 4 on a trip that ends Mon­day at San An­to­nio.

The Hor­nets did a good job of slow­ing down the Kings, hold­ing them to four fast-break points, but Sacra­mento hit cru­cial shots in the fourth quar­ter ev­ery time Char­lotte tried to make a run.

“Just a lot of mis­takes. We made a lot of mis­takes down the stretch de­fen­sively, and they made plays,” Walker said. “That’s re­ally what it was. We came out with some great en­ergy tonight. We were re­ally con­scious of that. We haven’t been play­ing with that kind of en­ergy as of late.”

Walker had 14 points in the first half and Char­lotte led 59-57 en­ter­ing the third pe­riod. The Kings held an 82-76 lead at the start of the fourth quar­ter. Char­lotte opened the fi­nal pe­riod with four straight points to pull within a bucket, but Bog­danovic had five points in a 10- 0 run to give the Kings a 92- 80 lead.

Walker re­sponded with six straight points to start a 9- 0 Char­lotte run that brought the Hor­nets back within three points, yet they could get no closer as Hield scored eight late points and the Kings ex­tended their lead.

“We got stops when we needed to get stops, and that’s what ul­ti­mately brought us out on top,” Fox said. “They made a run at the end, but we were able to get the stops when we needed them.”

TIP-INS

Hor­nets: Walker has scored 30 or more points in 12 con­tests this sea­son, and has 68 such games in his ca­reer. ... Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 11 points and seven re­bounds off the bench. ...Tony Parker was given the night off. ...Host the Kings on Thurs­day. ...Three straight losses ties their long­est skid of the sea­son.

Kings: Cauley-Stein had 14 points and 14 re­bounds two nights ear­lier in Sacra­mento’s 112-102 home vic­tory over the Detroit Pis­tons. ...Marvin Ba­gley had 11 points and nine re­bounds off the bench. ...Broke a three­game los­ing streak to the Hor­nets, and de­feated Char­lotte in Sacra­mento for the first time since 2015.

UP NEXT

Hor­nets: Visit San An­to­nio on Mon­day. Char­lotte is play­ing 10 of its 14 games in Jan­uary on the road.

Kings: Host the Port­land Trail Blaz­ers on Mon­day, wrap­ping up a three­game home­s­tand. The Kings then have a sixgame road trip, and do not play again in Sacra­mento un­til Jan. 30.

RICH PEDRONCELLI AP

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