Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker, left, Dwight Howard, center, and Nicolas Batum all performed well in Tuesday’s dominant road victory over the Sacramento Kings. Rich Pedroncelli AP
Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker, left, Dwight Howard, center, and Nicolas Batum all performed well in Tuesday’s dominant road victory over the Sacramento Kings. Rich Pedroncelli AP

Charlotte Hornets

Five takeaways from Charlotte Hornets’ dominant road victory against Kings

January 03, 2018 09:58 AM

The opponent was anything but impressive, but the Charlotte Hornets had their most dominant road victory over the season Tuesday, beating the Kings in Sacramento 131-111.

Five things to carry from the Hornets’ performance, which ended past midnight Eastern Time Wednesday:

Protect the ball

The Hornets totaled three turnovers - two by Frank Kaminsky and one by Nic Batum. The franchise record for fewest turnovers is two, set in a home game against the Milwaukee Bucks last season in March.

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Hornets coach Steve Clifford, currently out on medical leave, always makes low turnovers a top priority. Hornets center Dwight Howard is ninth in the NBA in turnovers at 3.27 per game, so him going without one Tuesday over 29 minutes is noteworthy.

Shooting

The Hornets are one of the NBA’s weaker shooting teams this season. However, Tuesday they made 15 of their 32 3-pointers and were 51-of-89 from the field overall.

Road improvement

The Hornets entered this game with a 3-13 record away from Charlotte. With 20 of 41 home games this season already played, any chance of significantly improving the final record demands improvement on the road.

Charlotte Hornets guard Nicolas Batum scored 21 points Tuesday night at Sacramento, where he made eight of 12 shots from the field (3-of-5 from 3-point range).
Rich Pedroncelli AP

They will finish this four-game West Coast road trip no worse than 2-2, with one game left against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center Friday (10:30 p.m.).

Batum

Batum missed the season’s first six weeks after tearing a ligament in his left elbow in the preseason. He has been inconsistent this season, which has drawn negative attention to the five-year, $120 million contract the Hornets signed him to two summers ago.

Batum scored 21 points Tuesday night, making eight of 12 shots from the field (3-of-5 from 3-point range). Batum isn’t a scorer first – his versatility as a passer, scorer and rebounder is his strength – but it’s important that he aggressively hunts for his shot the way he did in Sacramento.

Rough ride

In terms of quality opponents, the Hornets have played one of the 10 toughest schedules in the NBA this season. Seemingly, that means some giveback the second half of this season. However, they have burned up so many home games already, with 10 losses at Spectrum Center, that it might be too late to take advantage of what is left on this slate.

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell

HORNETS 131, KINGS 111

Charlotte

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

A

F

Pt

Kidd-Gilchrist

20:40

5-7

0-0

3

1

1

10

Williams

19:16

3-5

2-2

1

0

0

10

Howard

29:07

9-13

2-5

8

0

3

20

Batum

30:36

8-12

2-3

4

4

1

21

Walker

29:45

4-11

3-3

4

10

1

12

Kaminsky

24:39

4-8

2-2

1

3

1

12

Lamb

23:15

6-11

1-1

1

5

1

16

O’Bryant III

18:53

7-9

0-0

2

1

1

16

Graham

16:18

3-6

0-0

2

0

2

7

Carter-Williams

16:13

1-2

2-2

3

1

2

4

Monk

5:11

1-3

0-0

0

0

0

3

Bacon

4:05

0-2

0-0

1

0

0

0

Stone

2:02

0-0

0-0

0

0

1

0

Totals

240:00

51-89

14-18

30

25

14

131

Percentages: FG .573, FT .778. 3-Point Goals: 15-32, .469 (Batum 3-5, Lamb 3-5, Kaminsky 2-3, Williams 2-3, O’Bryant III 2-4, Graham 1-3, Monk 1-3, Walker 1-5, Carter-Williams 0-1). Team Rebounds: 5. Team Turnovers: 3 (5 PTS). Blocked Shots: 3 (Carter-Williams, Howard, Williams). Turnovers: 3 (Kaminsky 2, Batum). Steals: 7 (Lamb 3, Walker 2, Graham, Howard).

Sacramento

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

A

F

Pt

Labissiere

28:21

7-14

3-3

15

0

2

17

Temple

22:04

2-5

0-0

0

4

2

5

Randolph

25:08

11-18

2-2

10

0

2

24

Fox

32:49

5-12

6-8

3

4

2

17

Hill

28:14

4-7

0-0

1

2

2

11

Hield

24:33

2-4

0-0

2

2

3

6

Bogdanovic

23:38

5-8

1-1

2

5

5

11

Cauley-Stein

22:44

3-7

2-4

8

4

1

8

Koufos

13:04

5-6

0-0

2

0

0

10

Papagiannis

6:43

1-3

0-0

1

0

0

2

Richardson

6:21

0-1

0-0

2

0

0

0

Jackson

6:21

0-2

0-0

1

1

0

0

Totals

240:00

45-87

14-18

47

22

19

111

Percentages: FG .517, FT .778. 3-Point Goals: 7-17, .412 (Hill 3-3, Hield 2-3, Temple 1-2, Fox 1-4, Bogdanovic 0-2, Randolph 0-3). Team Rebounds: 6. Team Turnovers: 15 (20 PTS). Blocked Shots: 2 (Cauley-Stein, Hill). Turnovers: 15 (Hill 4, Fox 3, Bogdanovic 2, Cauley-Stein 2, Labissiere 2, Hield, Randolph). Steals: 1 (Fox).

Charlotte

32

40

28

31

131

Sacramento

25

27

29

30

111

Att.—17,583 (17,608). T—1:56.

Officials—Zach Zarba, Nick Buchert, Tre Maddox