SACRAMENTO, CA - For the first time since December 2nd, the Charlotte Hornets are back in the win column after defeating the Sacramento Kings 125-119 Monday night.
Mason Plumlee picked up two quick fouls in the first four minutes of the game and was replaced by Nick Richards, who had the quarter of his life on the offensive end. Richards poured in 11 points and snatched up seven rebounds in the first quarter alone, helping the Hornets get off to a terrific start.
LaMelo Ball also recorded a personal-best six assists in the frame but was forced to sit much of the second quarter after picking up his third personal foul a little over a minute in.
Theo Maledon produced some quality minutes in his place doing a little bit of everything. However, the Kings took full advantage of Ball not being on the floor and went on a 15-4 run to take a 51-50 lead. The Hornets not only weathered the storm but went on a 12-2 run in the final 2:35 of the half to take a 66-63 lead into the locker room.
Plumlee had a much better start to the second half, making a major impact in Charlotte's 13-4 run to get things going. After an early free throw, Plumlee threw a dunk down, hit a 17-foot jumper, blocked a shot by Domantas Sabonis, and was credited with an assist on a three-ball by Kelly Oubre Jr.
Sacramento punched right back with a 15-4 run to pull within one, causing Steve Clifford to call a timeout. Out of the timeout, Clifford left just one starter on the floor, Oubre, with 3:43 left in the third. After a pair of quick turnovers leading to the Kings regaining the lead, Clifford wasted no time getting Gordon Hayward back on the floor.
LaMelo Ball engineered a mini 8-0 burst to begin the fourth, accounting for six of those points. He found his groove and racked up 16 points in the quarter alone to help lead the Hornets to victory. Sacramento made things interesting in the final minutes thanks to seven unanswered points, all from De'Aaron Fox, to make it just a two-point game, 118-116. However, that would be as close as Sacramento could get as Theo Maldeon knocked down free throws to put the game out of reach.
Speaking of free throws, that's one area that Kings head coach Mike Brown can point to that could have changed the outcome of the game. As a team, the Kings shot 17-of-31 from the charity stripe.
The Hornets will be back at it Wednesday night in Los Angeles to take on the Clippers. Tip-off is set for 10:30 p.m. EST.
1ST: CHA 39-30
CHA: 16/29 FG | 3/6 3FG | 17 REB | 8 AST | 2 TO | 26 PIP
SAC: 11/27 FG | 4/10 3FG | 14 REB | 6 AST | 4 TO | 14 PIP
2ND: CHA 66-63
CHA: 28/54 FG | 3/12 3FG | 26 REB | 14 AST | 4 TO | 46 PIP
SAC: 23/47 FG | 7/17 3FG | 27 REB | 14 AST | 7 TO | 30 PIP
3RD: SAC 92-21
CHA: 37/74 FG | 5/21 3FG | 39 REB | 20 AST | 8 TO | 58 PIP
SAC: 35/72 FG | 11/27 3FG | 36 REB | 20 AST | 7 TO | 42 PIP
4TH: CHA wins 125-119
CHA: 49/95 FG | 10/31 3FG | 56 REB | 26 AST | 14 TO | 72 PIP
SAC: 45/95 FG | 12/33 3FG | 42 REB | 23 AST | 8 TO | 58 PIP
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