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Charlotte Hornets 83, Los Angeles Clippers 97: Notes and Observations

The injury-riddled Charlotte Hornets prove to be no match for the humming offense of the Los Angeles Clippers starters.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Defending the Clippers is Quite the Chore

This current Clippers starter core annually scores between 110 and 120 points per possession but, man, they seemed even more unguardable with Paul Pierce setting screens on pick-n-pops.

The DeAndre Jordan rim runs, the J.J. Redick curls off screens, the afore-mentioned pick-n-pop... You almost have to give up something by default when defending these actions. Moreover, when you somehow don't, Chris Paul can always hit a heartbreaking pull-up jumper.

Per example, the Hornets were consciously prepared for the Chris Paul - DeAndre Jordan pick-n-roll. A weak-side defender went all the way to do a full body bump on Jordan's cuts to the rim.

Here's Marvin Williams coming over and leaving Pierce (Marv fouled him on the subsequent drive):

Here's Jeremy Lamb giving up a Jamal Crawford three due to an alley-oop threat (Crawford missed the shot):

That's some serious ground one would have to cover if there was a need for a close-out. But something just has to be given up when defending the Clippers.

Spencer Hawes Missing Gimmies

Spencer Hawes, probably bothered by his back injury, doesn't appear to have any lift when attempting a shot from underneath the basket. Hawes already missed a freebie at Phoenix and he followed it up with two such misses last night. The Staples Center crowd seemed to relish that fact, given the up-and-down season the Seattle native had for them last year:

A couple of funky bounce passes later in the game were his saving grace, however, they still can't make up for the fact that the Hornets have quite the injured team right now. Following J.J. Redick through off-ball screens on a bum ankle doesn't sound like a fun weekend activity either. Kudos to Jeremy Lin for fighting through it.

Struggles of the Starters

The starting line-up of Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lin, P.J. Hairston, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller has scored 93.3 points per 100 possessions in the last four games (since Nicolas Batum last played). Last night the team remained in the game thanks to Lin's and Lamb's superiority over the forgettable Clippers bench mob.

Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin could use some help as they struggle through another dribble-heavy pick-n-roll action. Zeller, Hairston and Williams have little capability of creating for their own and there's just so much a line-up can do with three such players when they aren't playing at their best.

I doubt that coach Steve Clifford would ever do anything as radical but I would be interested to see what the Charlotte offense looked like if Zeller was replace by Hawes in the starting line-up until Batum returns. Hawes's struggles notwithstanding, he's a capable ball mover who will find guards off cuts and space the floor.

Playing him the first six minutes of the first and third quarters (before subbing in Zeller) might just somewhat help the starters with scoring.