Where: Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC
When: 7 p.m. ET
How: Fox Sports Southeast, WFNZ 610 AM
Man, that win Saturday felt big. Having lost three in a row, the Hornets went into the game against Memphis needing a result, not simply a good performance, and they got it. Al Jefferson returned, the losing streak was snapped, and with consistent free throw shooting (and again, a ridiculous number of three point attempts), the Hornets came back in the fourth quarter and won.
Will that momentum carry over into tonight's Kobe show? The Los Angeles Lakers come into the Hive with an amusing record of 5 wins and 26 losses for their latest stop on the Kobe Bryant Farewell Tour. The history with Kobe and Charlotte has been well-documented (read our latest piece) over the years, but the bigger story now is how awful Kobe has been this season. Here are three big points for tonight's game, and of course, Kobe is point number one:
Things to watch for
Kobe isn't what he used to be
34.7 and 25.6. Kobe Bryant, the would-be/kind-of heir to Michael Jordan, is shooting 34.7 percent from the field and 25.6 percent from three-point range in this his final season. Those are the worst marks in the entire NBA. Granted, MJ's days in Washington weren't his best either, but it's painful for even the biggest Kobe-hater to see a "legend" go out like this (well, not entirely painful). Charlotte, just like all the other teams that have accounted for LA's 26 losses, will look to take advantage of Kobe's failings to not let Jordan Clarkson or D'Angelo Russell get looks. They're shooting 46 percent and 40.3 percent respectively.
Steph Curry is Ruining Basketball
Former Warriors Coach Mark Jackson came out this week and stirred some controversy with the line, "Steph Curry is ruining basketball." The bitter ex-coach was referring to the NBA's new-found love for the three, and he wasn't entirely wrong (though clearly, Steph Curry is not ruining basketball by being awesome). The Hornets are no exception to this, and might in fact be the leading reason for Jackson's statements: Charlotte leads the league in three point attempts this season.
Part of that is due to Big Al's latest suspension and poor form this season, but regardless, Clifford addressed it in Saturday's post-game press conference. "The best thing you can do on a possession is shoot a free throw, that's by the numbers. Then the second-best thing you can do is shoot a layup. Then the third best thing you can do is shoot a three." We'll see if Big Al's return can alleviate the Hornets lack of action in the paint tonight and if Frank Kaminsky can begin to establish an inside presence as the season rolls along.
The Jeremy Lin Show
Yes, our favorite mohawk played with Kobe in the purple and gold last season. Yes, he started more there than he has here thus far (30 of his 74 games). But his impact in Charlotte has been invaluable, as opposed to his struggles during a difficult season in LA. Lin is fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 11.8 points per game, and leads the Hornets in the latest All-Star voting results. Should be fun to watch Kobe take on his old teammate tonight at the Hive.
It's definitely the Kobe Bryant show tonight, as upper deck tickets are selling for triple-digits for this farewell tour. Congratulations to all who get to see his final game in Charlotte tonight, and remember, especially this season, we "have no use" for his 34.7 percent shooting from the field. Go Hornets.