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Charlotte Hornets vs Los Angeles Clippers preview: Lance's return

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Lance Stephenson returns to Charlotte for the first time since being traded away this past June.

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Charlotte Hornets (17-13) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (19-13)

Where: Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How: Fox Sports Southeast, WFNZ 610 AM

After losing three straight entering a short Christmas break, the Charlotte Hornets have emerged from the holiday festivities and won two in a row. The most recent victory came on Monday night, when Kobe Bryant lost in his final game in Charlotte, 108-98.

In a game tighter than expected, Kemba Walker led the way with a game-high 38 points to go along with six rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Like in Charlotte's first game out of the break against Memphis, Walker was spectacular in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 points against LA in the final period of play.

On Wednesday night, the Hornets will welcome the other team from LA and a familiar face, Lance Stephenson and the Los Angeles Clippers. Stephenson spent just one year in Charlotte after signing a three-year, $27 million deal with the Hornets in the summer of 2014. The troubled guard averaged just 8.2 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting ridiculously poorly from the outside and reportedly doing harm to the team chemistry.

Stephenson will make his return to Charlotte for the first time after being traded for Spencer Hawes on June 15. Hawes was a failed experiment on LA's side and the two teams decided to swap the players hoping a change of scenery would work. Hawes has often been solid for Charlotte this season but has suffered from back tightness over the last week and is questionable to play on Wednesday.

Nicolaus Batum (toe) and Jeremy Lin (ankle) are also listed as questionable for the tip against LA, according to the team's latest injury report. Batum logged his seventh double-double of the season on Monday night, tallying 15 points and 11 assists. Lin has been superb off the bench and if the two can't go, it'll be tough on Charlotte despite the absence of Blake Griffin.

Griffin will miss at least the next two weeks with a partially torn left quadriceps tendon he suffered on Christmas Day against the Lakers. The superstar forward was averaging a team-high 23.2 points this season while also accounting for 8.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists. Josh Smith has been inserted into the starting lineup while Griffin is out.

The Clippers will face the Hornets as part of a five-game road trip. LA has had good success against Charlotte during the CP3-Griffin-Doc era, winning four of the last five and eight of the last 10 match-ups, including both games last season.

With possibly Batum and Lin both in street clothes, it sure would be nice to see a vintage Al Jefferson performance on Wednesday night. He's been an underutilized, rusty version of himself coming off the bench against the Grizzlies and Lakers. It could be time to feed the big man with two of Charlotte's best playmakers possibly sidelined with injuries.