The Charlotte Hornets needed every bit of their reduced roster to beat 56 points from Kings big man Demarcus Cousins.
The Charlotte Hornets found another way to win while missing a chunk of their normal production against the Sacramento Kings, 129-128 in double overtime. It was the second time (and last time) this season that the Hornets went to overtime with the Kings, and the second time that the game really circulated around one player, Demarcus Cousins.
In the first Kings game, Cousins was the key scoring figure but an injury held him out of overtime and the Kings lost. This time Cousins scored fifty-six points for the Kings. Three players (Spencer Hawes, Marvin Williams, Tyler Hansbrough) fouled out of the game trying to guard him. The thing that stopped Cousins was his own fouls. He fouled out in the second overtime and the Hornets managed to win while he watched from the bench.
Cousins is exactly the kind of player that the Hornets have had trouble defending in the past and this year. The team can get beat in the low post and the Kings were quite willing to go there over and over again. Point guard Rajon Rondo had twenty assists making those kind of passes.
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So how did the Hornets survive without Al Jefferson and Cody Zeller (and then all of their post teammates)? Balanced scoring from several players. All starters scored at least eighteen points in the game with Hawes being the first to foul out in the fourth quarter. Jeremy Lin (twenty points), Kemba Walker (twenty-four points), and Williams (twenty-one points) all had more than that. Still the game was not in good shape once the Hornets ran out of post players in the second overtime.
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Unusual lineups lead to unusual heroes as it was bench wing Troy Daniels who really stepped up in this game. Daniels scored twenty-eight to lead the team in scoring. His biggest points were the go-ahead three with nine seconds left in the second overtime. A Kings attempt to win the game missed afterwards to yield the victory.
The short-handed Hornets are scratching and clawing their way to wins lately, and this road win against Sacramento that much more important as the Hornets try to find their way back into the playoff picture. Their record is now (22-23) with .500 just around the corner.
Wednesday will find the Hornets in Salt Lake City against the team that Walker scored over fifty against, the Utah Jazz.