The Charlotte Hornets' playoff hopes took another hit Tuesday night, as the team was unable to overcome a 22-point deficit and fell to the Los Angeles Clippers, 99-92 at the Staples Center. The game drops Charlotte a game and a half behind Indiana for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Al Jefferson led the attack for the Hornets (29-37), scoring 20+ points for a team-high 21st time this season. He ended up with 21 points, six boards and two assists. Mo Williams had another strong game (18 points, eight assists and four rebounds), Gerald Henderson chipped 16 points (eight in the fourth quarter) and Kemba Walker contributed 15 points off the bench.
The Hornets scored just 41 points and had nine turnovers in the first half, but was able to turn it around and made a game of it late, thanks in large part to their lockdown defense (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist guarded everyone from Chris Paul to Blake Griffin) and in smaller part to their late game Hack-A-DeAndre Jordan strategy. Jordan, who came into the night shooting 40 percent from the free throw line, finished the evening 6-of-12 from the charity stripe, en route to a 12 point, 14 rebound performance.
Former Duke sharpshooter J.J. Redick led the offensive attack for the Clippers (43-25), finishing with a game-high 23 points (zero on three-pointers!!!). Paul finished with 21 points, eight assists (all in the first half) and three rebounds and Blake Griffin chipped in 19 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. The Clippers, who made seven of their first nine three-pointers, finished the night shooting 9-of-24 from three.
The Hornets enjoy a two day break before their next game, a showdown against DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings as Charlotte tries to avenge an embarrassing loss at the Cable Box one week ago.