The Kings opened their season-long six-game trip with a 114-95 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday night at Spectrum Center. Here are three takeaways from the game:
Second quarter costly for Kings
The Kings took their first lead at 5-3. They pushed it up to as many as 13 in the second quarter — and then it all unraveled for Sacramento.
The Hornets’ offense woke up behind strong play from Tony Parker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker and when the halftime buzzer sounded, the hosts were up 13 at 63-50.
Charlotte outscored Sacramento 43-25 in the period. It tied for the largest amount the Kings allowed this season, matching the 43 points the Golden State Warriors put up at Golden 1 Center on Jan. 5.
The Kings (23-22) got to within six in the third period, but would get no closer as the Hornets pushed their lead to as many as 20 in the fourth quarter.
Walker led the Hornets (21-23) with 23 points.
Bogdanovic finding the touch
For the third consecutive game, Bogdan Bogdanovic found ways to score.
On Thursday he was 8 for 13 for 17 points. In the previous two games, the second-year guard averaged 20 points on 63 percent shooting.
“I think he’s starting a little bit more healthy,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said before the game about Bogdanovic, who has missed 12 of the Kings’ 45 games this season, including the first 10. “He’s got his legs underneath him and he’s got a nice rhythm.”
Hield dominance from downtown
The Kings couldn’t find a way to rally back for the victory, but that didn’t stop Buddy Hield from firing away from the arc.
The third-year guard went 6 of 11 on 3-pointers and now has a team-leading 149 makes from that range.
Hield, who led the Kings with 24 points, is averaging 3.3 made 3s per game and is on pace to finish the season with 272. It would shatter Peja Stojakovic’s mark of 240 set in 2003-04.
Upcoming schedule for the Kings
▪ Jan. 19 at Detroit Pistons – This matchup comes a little more than a week after the Kings went wire to wire in beating the Pistons in Sacramento. The visitors played without leading scorer Blake Griffin (rest). The Kings will look to avenge last season’s sweep with one of their own.
▪ Jan. 21 at Brooklyn Nets – This will be the first meeting between the teams this season. Sacramento swept the series in 2017-18. The Nets were seventh in the Eastern Conference entering Wednesday and seek their first playoff berth in four seasons.
▪ Jan. 22 at Toronto Raptors – The Kings will look to avenge a 114-105 home loss to Toronto on Nov. 7. It won’t be easy, as it comes on the second of a back-to-back against the team with the NBA’s best record.