SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Hornets won each of the last three quarters Monday night at Sacramento, but it still wasn't enough to overcome a brutal first period against the Kings.
Two nights after allowing just 74 points in a victory at Houston, the Hornets surrendered 40 points in the first quarter alone and spent the rest of the night trying to make up for it. The Hornets pulled to within one point on two occasions in the fourth quarter, but never fully recovered in a 105-99 loss to the Kings before a sellout crowd 17,317. The setback with the 11th straight inside Arco Arena for the Hornets, who haven't won in the building since 1997. The Hornets' game plan was to get back on defense and not give up any transition points. They did neither at the outset. The Hornets came in having won five of their last six starts while not allowing just 84.0 points in those games. The Kings nearly reached half that total alone in the first period, shooting 72.7 percent from the field. "They got anything that wanted," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "That's ridiculous. We definitely didn't do anything to discourage them from getting the points that they got. We just didn’t start off well and that's the starters' job, to go out there a play well. Our guys played terrible in the first quarter. They didn’t get back on defense. They just weren't very focused at the beginning of the game." Meanwhile, the Hornets missed their last seven shots of the quarter, shooting 40.
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