The Charlotte Hornets look to improve to two games over .500 against the Sacramento Kings

The Charlotte Hornets face the Sacramento Kings in hopes of improving to two games over .500.

Charlotte will look for its third straight win, and fourth in the last five games, Monday as the Hornets host the Sacramento Kings at Time Warner Cable Arena.

The Hornets have thrived at home this season, winning five straight in Charlotte after losing their home opener to Atlanta. In the five victories, Charlotte averaged 112 points per game and eclipsed 30 points in a quarter 11 times. 

In its last outing, Charlotte thrashed the hapless Philadelphia 76ers, 113-88, at Time Warner Cable Arena in the second of a seven-game homestand. Al Jefferson bullied the Sixers for 26 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. It was Jefferson’s third double-double of the season. 

Jeremy Lin averages 11.5 points per contest and has scored in double figures in eight of Charlotte’s 13 games. He will return to the bench Monday with P.J. Hairston back in the starting lineup. Cody Zeller also will return against the Kings. 

Sacramento is 5-9 this season but have rebounded from a six-game losing streak to earn victories in four in its last six games. The Kings are 1-4 away from home, and the matchup in Charlotte is the team’s fourth game of a five-game road swing.

Rajon Rondo joined the Kings in the offseason after a tumultuous term last season in Dallas. Rondo elected to sign a one-year deal with Sacramento in a move that could be considered risky but he has flourished under head coach George Karl. The point guard, in his ninth season, is averaging 12.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while his 10.1 assists per game is second-best in the league.

Many in the Queen City fondly remember Sacramento vice president of basketball operations and general manager Vlade Divac from his two seasons with Charlotte (1996-98). The source of consternation for fans of the Hornets is the cost it took to get him.

Divac was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to Charlotte for the draft rights to Kobe Bryant, who the Hornets selected with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 draft. At the time it was remarkable that a team would consider trading its starting center for an unproven player straight from high school. 

The Lakers used the trade as a means to build for the future while also clearing space for the signing of Shaquille O’Neal later in the summer. Ironically, after two seasons with the Hornets Divac--who never was interested in leaving the west coast--left via free agency and signed with the Kings where he would be a chief adversary of O’Neal and the Lakers for the next six seasons. 

Charlotte Hornets Projected Starters

Position

Player

Height

PPG

G

Kemba Walker

6-1

16.8

G

Nicolas Batum

6-8

16.8

F

P.J. Hairston

6-8

16.8

F

Marvin Williams

7-0

10.1

C

Al Jefferson

6-10

15.2

Sacramento Kings Projected Starters

Position

Player

Height

PPG

G

Rajon Rondo

6-1

12.6

G

Darren Collison

6-0

13.3

F

Ben McLemore

6-5

7.5

F

DeMarcus Cousins

6-11

27.7

C

Willie Cauley-Stein

7-0

5.1