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The Charlotte Hornets will be playing the second game of a back-to-back situation when they visit the Sacramento Kings at the Golden 1 Center on Saturday night. Charlotte had lost three of its last four (and two of three on a current six-game road trip) heading into a date with Portland on Friday. The Kings are 2-5 in their last seven but managed to defeat Detroit on Thursday.
Lamb looks good in return
Charlotte guard Jeremy Lamb (hamstring) returned to the lineup following a three-game absence and recorded 16 points and six rebounds in 29 minutes during Tuesday’s 128-109 loss to the Clippers. Lamb is now averaging 15.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest.
“He looked solid; he looked healthy,” head coach James Borrego said of Lamb. “I didn’t feel like he was limited at all. He had a good performance and I think we’ve got him back in the mix now.”
Backup shooting guard Malik Monk poured in 24 points against Los Angeles for his fifth 20-point effort of the season. Star guard Kemba Walker contributed just 13 points on 6-of-18 shooting against the Clippers for his second subpar performance of the month (11 points on 4-of-14 shooting against the Mavericks on Jan. 2. The former UConn standout–like Lamb–has otherwise been outstanding. Walker went for 29 points and seven rebounds in a victory over Phoenix last weekend and he is averaging 25.1 ppg for the 2018-19 campaign.
Bagley or Bjelica?
It has been encouraging season for the Kings (21-21), but one point of contention is the power-forward position. Nemanja Bjelica has been starting, but should it be rookie Marvin Bagley III? Point guard De’Aaron Fox recently addressed the situation.
“I think with our starting lineup, for sure…everyone questions why Marvin is not starting and this and that,” point guard De’Aaron Fox commented. “I think [Bjelica] spreads the floor so well and that’s what opens up my lanes, that’s what opens up driving lanes. [Iman Shumpert] is shooting the ball well, everybody knows Buddy (Hield) can shoot the ball and Belly can shoot the ball. They’re both, for their careers, shooting over 40 percent. So, if you help, it’s like pick your poison. Help or don’t help. If you don’t help, I’m going to get a layup or dump off to Willie (Cauley-Stein). If you do help, we’ve got shooters on the wing.”
#TheScores controlled last night's action from the jump.
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) January 11, 2019
Bjelica 10.8 points and 6.1 rebounds in 24.9 minutes per game this season. Bagley is not getting quite as many minutes off the bench (22.9) while contributing 12.4 ppg and 6.1 rpg. The 30-year-old Serbian, however, has been held to single-digits in each of the past three outings. Bagley returned from a one-game absence to produce 10 points, seven rebounds, and two steals during Thursday’s 112-102 win over Detroit.
The Sacramento Kings are:
- 7-2 ATS in their last nine games against teams with losing records
- 22-6 ATS in their last 28 games against the Eastern Conference
- 11-0 ATS in their last 11 games against the Southeast Conference
The Charlotte Hornets are:
- 4-10 ATS in their last 14 overall
- 1-5 ATS in their last six road games
- 1-4 ATS in their last five games against the Western Conference
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Sacramento is playing with both confidence and urgency, sitting two just two games out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference in a tie for eighth. Hield and Fox have been outstanding, while both Bjelica and Bagley are getting the job done at power forward. The Hornets are 1-5 ATS in their last six against the Pacific Division and 0-5 ATS in their last five on the road against opponents with winning home records. Sacramento is 5-2 ATS in its last seven at home against opponents with losing road records and 19-7 ATS in its last 26 playing on one day of rest.
Prediction: Sacramento Kings
Full-Game Total Pick
Perhaps no team in the NBA plays at a faster pace than Sacramento. Fox, Hield, and company are fifth in the league at 114.9 points per game and near the bottom in points allowed at 116.0 per contests. For Charlotte, meanwhile, Lamb’s return will take some of the pressure off Walker. The over is 5-1 in the Hornets’ last six overall, 9-0 in their last nine on the road, 5-0 in their last five on the road against opponents with winning home records, 6-1 in their last seven against the Western Conference, and 7-3 in their last 10 playing on no days of rest. It is also 20-8 in the Kings’ last 28 overall and 5-2 in their last seven against losing opponents. Additionally, the over is 5-1 in the last six meetings between the two teams. Look for this one to go over the total.