When: 1:00 pm EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Hornets are coming off an unnecessarily close win over the Los Angeles Lakers. They withstood Russell Westbrook recapturing his 2017 form after leading comfortably for a good portion of the game. The win gave them a season split with the Lakers.
They’ll try to do the same with the other team from Los Angeles. Earlier this season, the Hornets had a catastrophic fourth quarter to lose a lead and lost the by a pretty sizeable margin. In that game, Terry Rozier made a 3-pointer to put the Hornets up 102-93 with 7:03 left in the game. The Hornets would not score a point for the next five minutes and 54 seconds. In that time, the Clippers reeled off 22 straight points as they cruised to an easy win.
The Hornets haven’t had as many of those massive droughts in recent weeks. The offense has been cold from outside at times, but they’re still getting to the basket enough to keep the scoring going to an extent even if the threes aren’t falling.
The Clippers sit in the same spot in the standings as the Hornets. They’re 3.5 games out of the sixth playoff spot in a somewhat fragmented Western Conference. They’ve hovered around .500 all season long and haven’t really been too high or too low, though they did have an absurd 35-point comeback over the Wizards a few games ago that they won on a 4-point play by Luke Kennard.
Kennard has been the team’s leading scorer since the start of the new year with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard both out of the lineup. He does the vast majority of his work behind the 3-point line, which is a little concerning given how bad the Hornets have been at guarding the arc this season. Amir Coffey has been chipping in with a few 3-pointers per game at a high percentage as well. Reggie Jackon and Marcus Morris take most of the shots, but they haven’t been shooting well of late.
The Clippers aren’t a strong offensive team. They have the fourth worst offensive rating in the entire league, though they make up for it with the seventh best defensive rating. They’re weak on the glass, but so are the Hornets, so we’ll get a nice matchup between the stoppable force and very movable object. Maybe all the missed shots will just bounce our of bounds.
Former Hornet Nicolas Baum has been having a nice season for the Clippers, but he’s questionable with a sore lower back.
The Hornets will still be without Jalen McDaniels (ankle) and Gordon Hayward (health and safety protocols). As of this writing, Kelly Oubre is listed as questionable again with a sprained ankle and there isn’t further clarity on his status.
These afternoon games are always a fun change of pace. The Hornets got a nice win over the Knicks in their last matinee. It feels like this game could profile very similarly to that win.