The Kings have had two days to stew following their 115-99 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. It was their most lopsided defeat at Arco Arena since falling 116-95 to San Antonio on March 2, 1998.
“We have to come to the realization that we have to play a lot better and harder on a consistent basis,” Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. “You play better teams and this is what you’re going to get.”
The Hornets aren’t one of those better teams. In fact, they’re the worst in the NBA record-wise as they remain without five key players due to injury, including starters Baron Davis, Jamaal Magloire and Jamal Mashburn.
Plus, the Hornets haven’t won in Sacramento since 1997, losing seven straight at Arco.
The Kings have lost at home just twice this season, but Thursday’s defeat really stung. Not only was it against the archrival Lakers, but the result was never in doubt in the fourth quarter and Adelman furiously pulled his starters with nearly 5 minutes left.
“I was getting ready to do that at the six-minute mark,” Adelman said. “We weren’t doing anything that was going to get us back in the game.”
The loss was just the third in 17 games for Sacramento, which has two key players struggling offensively.
Peja Stojakovic, the league’s second-leading scorer last season at 24.2 points per game, has averaged just 14.8 over the last four games. Brad Miller is averaging 15.0 points this season, but has totaled just 23 over the last three games.
Finding sources of offense continues to be a big problem for the injury-depleted Hornets, who are averaging a Western Conference-low 85.3 points and have been held below 70 four times in the last 10 games.
New Orleans, opening a five-game road trip, has lost seven in a row away from home since winning in Utah on Nov. 22 for its first victory of the season. The Hornets doubled their season win total by defeating Golden State 98-89 on Wednesday, ending an 11-game losing streak, but stumbled again Friday in an 83-67 defeat to San Antonio.
One bright spot from that loss was Lee Nailon scoring 22 points in his return after missing five games with a strained groin.
“I think we played hard tonight,” Nailon said. “We didn’t get the win, but we will just have to bounce back against Sacramento.”