April 19, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Hornets head coach Monty Williams and shooting guard Eric Gordon (10) during the first half against the Houston Rockets at the New Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Live in Staples tonight, the New Orleans Hornets visit the Staples Center to take on new-found rival the Los Angeles Clippers. Obviously, much could be made about the match-up again between Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets, but following the two times that the Hornets have already matched up against Chris Paul, that particular storyline seems a bit played out. Instead, it's just a match-up between the Hornets and a team that's vying for a particular playoff spot. Depending on the result of the Lakers game today, the Clippers still have a legitimate shot at the number three seed in the Western Conference and avoiding the Memphis Grizzlies. The Hornets, spoilers here down the stretch, look to give the Clippers some problems as well.
Some could be made about Eric Gordon returning to the Clippers. He was injured for the previous two match-ups between the Clippers and Hornets and still has seemed bitter about the way things ended with the Clippers prior to his trade for Chris Paul. However, Monty Williams has made it a point to say he won't play Gordon or Landry much down the stretch because he wants to continue to expand the minutes for his younger guys. So who knows how much revenge he'll really get or how well the Hornets will play without their two best offensive players. It's also worth noting that this is the first time that Jason Smith and Blake Griffin will play each other since their first fateful encounter (Smith was suspended for the last game). But I doubt too much will be done there on that end.
For the Clippers, they will be without Chauncey Billups (Achilles), have Blake Griffin (neck) and Reggie Evans (illness) listed as questionable and Chris Paul (thumb) listed as probable. For the Hornets, they will be without Jarrett Jack (foot), Emeka Okafor (knee), Chris Kaman (tibia) and Trevor Ariza (being under contract next year).
As always, Go Hornets!