The Charlotte Hornets limp into the fifth contest of their six-game road trip when they visit the Sacramento Kings on Saturday. Charlotte was hammered 127-96 in Portland on Friday as it fell to 1-3 on the trip with its seventh loss in 10 overall contests.
The Hornets' three losses on the trek have come by an average of 21 points and they are a paltry 5-14 on the road this season. "I think from the start, we did not come out to compete," Charlotte coach James Borrego said in a postgame television interview after Friday's poor showing. "Lack of effort, lack of competitive spirit, too soft on the ball, too soft inside. Just a lack of spirit." Sacramento has won just two of its last seven games but played well in Thursday's 112-102 home win over Detroit. Buddy Hield recorded 18 points in the victory but has scored fewer than 20 in three straight games after having 20 or more in 14 of his previous 17 contests.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FS Southeast (Charlotte), NBCS California (Sacramento) LINE: Kings -5.5
ABOUT THE HORNETS (19-22): Borrego hinted at lineup changes after his team shot just 40 percent and allowed the Trail Blazers to shoot 55.9 percent in a listless performance. "It's my job to look at the roster and the lineup and make the right adjustments," Borrego said. "It's up to our guys to come with the spirit and compete every night. This is our job. We've got to come to compete from the start and play 48 minutes." Kemba Walker registered 18 points against Portland but is averaging 15.5 over his last two games while making just 11-of-37 shots.
ABOUT THE KINGS (21-21): Willie Cauley-Stein has come under criticism for his inconsistent performances, but he's currently on a good run with three double-doubles in his last four games. Cauley-Stein recorded 14 points and 14 rebounds while outplaying Detroit's Andre Drummond and downplayed the performance while coach Dave Joerger raved about it. "He was fresh and I thought he was energetic," Joerger told reporters. "He ran the floor. A lot of times, you don't get credit for this, but he runs the floor. ... A lot of times when Willie is running that hard, he brings people in and opens up the 3-point line, so he's been doing a lot of positive things for us."
1. The Hornets have won each of the last three meetings and the teams will complete the season series Thursday in Charlotte.
2. Charlotte backup PG Tony Parker (three points in 12 minutes on Friday) is expected to sit out against the Kings.
3. Sacramento backup SG Bogdan Bogdanovic is just 6-of-20 shooting while averaging 6.5 points over his last two games.
PREDICTION: Kings 114, Hornets 105 Bet Now
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