Hornets make a stop in Sacramento

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Charlotte Hornets need some wins to stay in the race for a playoff berth and will try again Friday night versus the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena.

The Hornets are on the outside looking in at the Eastern Conference postseason race. Charlotte is a half-game behind the Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics for the eighth spot and 1 1/2 games in back of the Miami Heat, who are alone in seventh.

The Hornets have started their five-game road trip poorly with consecutive losses to the Utah Jazz, where they managed 66 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Charlotte fell to the Clips, 99-92, on Tuesday.

A second-half rally made things interesting before the Hornets ultimately came up short.

"Nine turnovers hurt us in the first half," said Hornets coach Steve Clifford.

Al Jefferson had 21 points and Marvin Williams tallied his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The lead ballooned to 22 early in the third on Chris Paul's triple, and the Clippers were well on their way to a rout before Charlotte closed the gap. Kemba Walker was the catalyst, netting seven points in the final 1:31 of the third quarter. Mo Williams added a layup and a triple during Charlotte's 12-2 run to close the period and make it 77-74 after three.

The Hornets got within one on a number of occasions but never got over the hump. Trailing by four late, Jefferson had a rebound kick off his leg and out of bounds, and he missed a jump hook at the other end. Gerald Henderson was off the mark with a jumper with 18 seconds to go, and Blake Griffin secured the rebound and the game for LA.

The Hornets, who are still without forward Cody Zeller because of a shoulder injury, will visit Minnesota and Chicago on this trek.

The Kings have dropped four straight and four in a row at home. They opened this stay with losses to the Atlanta Hawks and Clippers and still have matchups with Washington and Philadelphia on the schedule.

On Wednesday, Sacramento lost to the Clippers, 116-105.

Rudy Gay ended with 23 points, six rebounds and three steals in his return from a two-game absence for the Kings. Andre Miller and Nik Stauskas contributed 16 and 13 points, respectively.

"I'm comfortable out there, I'm confident," said Stauskas, who has played sparingly during his rookie season.

Jason Thompson and Derrick Williams ended with 12 and 11 points, respectively, for the Kings, who went 3-of-17 from beyond the arc.

Sacramento was without DeMarcus Cousins (calf) and he's listed as questionable for Friday. Ben McLemore is battling a wrist injury.

The Kings beat the Hornets by seven in Charlotte on March 11 to snap a two- game series winning streak by Charlotte. The Hornets have emerged victorious in four of their last five trips to Sacramento.