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The reeling Hornets look for a win against the visiting Clippers

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With the Los Angeles Clippers visiting tonight, what do the Charlotte Hornets have to do to break a five-game losing streak?

If only I could call a timeout on this season
If only I could call a timeout on this season
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Losers of five straight games, the Charlotte Hornets have to be wondering what they have to do to get a win. Even the most pessimistic of prognosticators wouldn't have predicted a 4-10 start to the season. Having blown leads to the Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic, and Miami Heat in consecutive games, maybe tonight is the night the Hornets finally shed their demons and get a win against the Los Angeles Clippers. Both teams played the previous night, with the Clippers (7-5) having lost convincingly on the road to the Memphis Grizzlies. What do the Hornets need to do in order to get this win and if they lose where should the arrow point on the Hornets Panic Level Meter?

When: Tonight, 7 p.m. Eastern

Where: Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC

Injuries:

Charlotte: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Out (foot); P.J. Hairston, Questionable (ankle); Jeffery Taylor, Out (suspension)

Los Angeles: None

Key Team Stats:

Team Points Rank Points Allowed Rank Off Rtg Rank Def Rtg Rank Net Rtg Rank
Los Angeles Clippers 102.4 10 101.2 20 16.3 5 104.7 20 1.6 14
Charlotte Hornets 94.3 26 99.4 14 98.3 25 104.3 19 -6 26

Other than a stretch where the then Charlotte Bobcats were missing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffery Taylor, last year's team had a top ten defensive rating for pretty much the whole season. Well this year is no different. In the last six games without their best wing stopper, the Hornets have posted a defensive rating of 109, which is fourth worst in the league over that stretch. Facing a top five offense tonight, the Hornets need someone else to step up and help the team get stops.

After a 7-5 start, some are beginning to wonder if the Clippers have what it takes to be a contender. Just like it seems a little too early to write off the Hornets, the same can be said for writing off the new kings of Los Angeles. The Clippers still have the league's top point guard in Chris Paul, who is almost putting up a 40/50/90 season while scoring 18 points and dishing out 9.5 assists per game. Not to mention, they also have Blake Griffin, who got MVP consideration last year and is one of the league's best pick and roll players.

Let's hope if head coach Doc Rivers has watched any tape on the Hornets, it wasn't the game against the Dallas Mavericks. The Clippers have the sort of personnel to replicate the alley-oop fest the Mavericks put on display exactly one week ago. Even if they're not throwing lobs, the Hornets will still be hard pressed to guard Chris Paul in the pick and roll.

If the Hornets can't stop the Clippers from scoring, they'll have to match them offensively and the best place to do that is to attack them on the wing. J.J. Reddick and Matt Barnes have not played up to expectations this season and therefore Lance Stephenson and Gerald Henderson have to win their respective matchups along the perimeter.

With three more games in the next five nights, this is a really big game for the Hornets (authors note: I've said that the last three games in a row). Getting two wins out of the next four would help a fan base that has seemingly suffered a season's worth of let downs in just the first fourteen games of the season. More importantly, a win against a strong Western conference team might give the player's confidence that they aren't a bad team, just a good team having a tough start to the season.

If the Hornets lose tonight, put in your vote for where we should set the Panic Level Meter.