Kings-Hornets Preview

The Associated Press

No NBA team has had a harder time containing its opponents than the Sacramento Kings.

The New Orleans Hornets are coming off a major defensive collapse of their own.

With both clubs looking to snap skids, the Kings try to avoid a 14th loss in 16 road matchups with the Hornets on Sunday.

Giving up an average of 104.2 points to rank last in the league, Sacramento (19-37) has surrendered 115.3 per game on 50.3 percent shooting while losing four straight. The Kings had no answer for Atlanta as they opened a five-game road trip with Friday's 122-108 defeat.

"Sometimes, when you're playing well offensively, you forget about the other side of the ball," coach Keith Smart told the league's official website. "We had every opportunity to win this game if we even gave half of a defensive effort. Age is not the issue anymore ... it's time for us to grow up and be a team."

Isaiah Thomas, averaging 20.5 points over his last six games, scored 30 to go along with nine assists and a season-high six rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins had 26 points and 13 boards as the Kings scored in triple digits for a sixth consecutive game.

"This is an offensive-minded team," Cousins said. "We're struggling in all aspects of the game. I do believe our offense carries our defense.

"We went away from what worked. We have a tendency to do that every game. I mean, if you haven't learned yet, you ain't trying to learn."

The Kings have been outscored by an average of 16.7 points during a season worst-tying seven-game road losing streak. They haven't lost eight straight in opponents' arenas since a 12-game skid in 2010-11.

Sacramento can't be feeling good about its chances Sunday considering it has gone 2-13 on the road against the Hornets since 2005.

New Orleans forward Ryan Anderson went 7 for 14 from 3-point range to finish with 27 points in a 114-105 home win over the Kings on Jan. 21. Greivis Vasquez added 19 and 11 assists.

The Hornets (19-37) are coming off their third straight defeat overall, 104-100 to Dallas on Friday. New Orleans went up by four with 56 seconds to go but was outscored 8-0 the rest of the way.

Eric Gordon scored just three of his 23 points in the second half and committed a costly turnover - his fourth of the game - with 5.8 seconds left.

"Any time you lose a game you feel bad, but any time you lose a game that way because of your mistakes, it's worse," said coach Monty Williams, whose team dropped to 2-25 when allowing 100 points or more. "It's one of those things where we have to look at film and figure out what is breaking down on our defense."

Jason Smith scored a season-high 22 points off the bench Friday while Anderson added 20 and 12 rebounds.

Anthony Davis recorded his third double-double in four games with 10 points and 11 boards before leaving in the third quarter due to a sprained right knee. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, though, expects to play Sunday.

Davis will surely be looking to come out strong against Cousins, a fellow former Kentucky big man. Davis had 11 points and six boards in last month's matchup but sat out the second half due to injury. Cousins, meanwhile, posted 29 and 13.

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