This is the first time in a long time that the Kings have had a winning record past the halfway point in the season. The fact is this young team is coming of age and learning to play very well on a consistent basis. They have turned to an up-tempo game that sees them scoring 115 PPG (4th in NBA) while shooting a strong 38.9% from 3-point range. This will be the first game of a long road trip after the Kings won three games in a row at home. The defense is a little shaky, giving up 115.4 PPG, but the up-tempo style gives that context. Buddy Hield leads a well-balance offensive attack, scoring at just over 20 PPG. De’Aaron Fox is contributing 17.9 PPG and 7.3 APG.
The Hornets were really struggling (3-11 in its prior 11 games) before coming away with a very nice road victory over the San Antonio Spurs. It was the last game of a brutal 6-game road trip that saw them go 2-4. Now, they come home, getting two days rest to shake the cobwebs loose. The team sits about mid-pack in most offensive and defensive categories, but they just has difficulty finishing games, particularly on the road where the team is 6-15 on the season. At home, they play a lot of close games. Fine point guard Kimba Walker leads the team in scoring and assists with 25.2 and 5.7 respectively. No other player on the team averages over 16 PPG, which translates to a depth problem.
Prediction: While there figures to be some pace in this game, Charlotte doesn’t shoot that well from the field. The Kings figure to run a bit in this one and Charlotte should be good to go with a quick pace, coming off 2 days of rest. Play over 230 (score – Charlotte 122-118)