The Charlotte Hornets won a game last night.
That is not a typo.
Yep, the Hornets beat the Sacramento Kings on the road last night — not all that difficult to do now that they’ve traded DeMarcus Cousins — and have an opportunity to win their second game in a row tonight with a victory against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Now, let’s be honest for a moment. The Clippers are much, much better than the Hornets. After all, they’re 35-23 in the brutal Western Conference.
But that doesn’t mean this game is out of reach. Not by any means.
The Hornets pushed the Clippers to the edge back on Feb. 10, barely losing 107-102 in regulation. The Clippers needed a team effort to overcome Nicolas Batum ‘s 25 points and eight assists, and if Cody Zeller ends up returning tonight the Hornets might have an edge.
It won’t be easy, but it’s there if they want it.
Frank Kaminsky will be key in tonight’s game. The second-year big man posted 23 points and 13 points last night against the Kings, adding to his impressive set of stat lines since becoming the team’s de facto starting center.
Can Frank deal with DeAndre Jordan ‘s size and strength? I’m leaning toward no on the whole, but that doesn’t mean he can’t limit Jordan’s impact. Jordan had 16 rebounds when these two teams last played a couple of weeks ago.
The Clippers are an extremely efficient offensive team thanks in large part to the versatility the combination of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and J.J. Redick affords them on that end of the floor. Each of those guys can handle the ball, shoot, and pass well, suggesting that if the Hornets’ defense slips for even half a quarter, this game might run away from them.
Remember, it’s not their defense that has led to this huge string of losses, but rather an inability to score the basketball and generate meaningful offensive possessions. The Hornets rank 29th in field goal percentage and 30th in steals this season.
So unless they’re suddenly dropping 35-point quarters on the Clippers, they’re going to need to play excellent defense all night.
Tip-off is at 9:30 p.m.