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Howard, Walker help Hornets pull away and beat Kings
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SACRAMENTO (AP) — Dwight Howard had 20 points and eight rebounds, Kemba Walker added 12 points and 10 assists and the Charlotte Hornets built a big early lead and beat the Sacramento Kings 131-111 on Tuesday.
Nicolas Batum scored 21 points, Jeremy Lamb added 16, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marvin Williams had 10 points apiece to help the Hornets to their third consecutive win in Sacramento.
Charlotte came in as one of the NBA’s worst 3-point shooting teams but repeatedly got open looks from beyond the arc, especially in the first half when the Hornets made 10 of their season-high-tying 15 3s. Lamb and Batum made three apiece to pace the outside shooting.
Four days after stunning Golden State to begin their four-game trip, the Hornets set season highs in scoring and for points scored in the first half (72). Charlotte’s previous high was 129 points in an overtime win over Washington on Nov. 22.
Zach Randolph had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Sacramento. Skal Labissiere added 17 points and a career-best 15 rebounds for the Kings, who have lost five of six.
Charlotte led 32-25 but didn’t pull away until an 18-4 run midway through the second. Four different Hornets made 3-pointers, and Howard had a dunk and short hook on consecutive possessions to cap an 18-5 run.
Walker added a three-point play and Marvin Williams had a 3-pointer as part of another run for Charlotte, and Batum’s short jumper put the Hornets up 72-52.
Sacramento made a brief surge in the third to pull within 76-65, but Kidd-Gilchrist scored eight points over the next 2½ minutes to extend Charlotte’s lead to 88-71.
Hornets: Charlotte was 26th in 3-point shooting going into the game but went 15 of 32 beyond the arc. The 10 3s in the first half were one more than the Hornets were averaging over a full game.
Kings: Sacramento trailed at the break despite shooting above 60 percent for most of the first half. ... De’Aaron Fox scored 17 points in his return after missing eight games with right quadriceps tear against Minnesota on Dec. 14. The fifth overall pick in the draft, Fox shot 5 of 12 and had four assists. ... Frank Malone suffered a bruised left heel on Christmas Eve against Memphis and will be re-evaluated in a week.