The Los Angeles Clippers will be taking on the Charlotte Hornets today from the Spectrum Center in some early day NBA action. The game is set to tip off at 1pm EST and marks the second time these two teams have met this season. Earlier this season in Los Angeles, the Clippers took the game 120-106 behind 20 points from Paul George. However, this time around George is out with an injury as the Hornets look to even up the season series with Los Angeles. The Hornets have a home record of 14-7 and have won seven of their last ten games while Los Angeles is 10-14 on the road and has split their last ten games at 5-5.
Charlotte is currently the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference sitting at a record of 28-22 and coming off a win over the Los Angeles Lakers the last time out. Meanwhile, the Clippers hold a record of 25-26 and are also the seventh seed in the Western Conference but lost last time out to the Miami Heat. This matchup features two teams right in the middle of the playoff seeding so it looks to be an interesting contest.
How Los Angeles can win: This Clippers team has stayed alive despite injuries to their two-star players in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and that is due to the leadership from head coach Ty Lue. Lue has these guys fighting hard each and every game which allows the Clippers to stay in games despite their lack of star power. The Clippers rank fifth in the Western Conference shooting 35.8 percent from three-point land and have used this to help them stay competitive.
Guard Luke Kennard has been playing well of late for Los Angeles and is shooting 43.9 percent from beyond the arc. He has averaged 2.8 made threes a game for the Clippers and was a main reason for the teams’ epic 35-point comeback win over the Wizards recently. Additionally, point guard Reggie Jackson has stepped up in a big way, averaging 16.4 points per game to help lead the team. If the Clippers can get both of those guys going early, it could be a good chance they win the game. Charlotte will likely be without some of their forwards in this matchup so making sure the Clippers players move around the court without the ball to set up easy shots, could be a factor in the outcome.
How Charlotte can win: For the Hornets, it has been an interesting year thus far as they are currently a playoff team, but they know they can play better. In their last game against the Lakers, they allowed an undermanned Laker squad to erase a 20-point lead and stay with them until the final buzzer. They’ll need to keep their foot on the gas against the Clippers if they are able to get out to a big lead as the Clippers have shown the ability to come back from massive deficits. Without forwards Gordon Hayward and Kelly Oubre Jr., the Hornets relied on their depth against the Lakers in which they saw reserve guard Ish Smith score 22 points for them. They’ll likely need another strong outing from their bench if they want to pick up another victory.
Consistency is key with this Charlotte team, and they have two players who have played well all season in LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges. Ball has been the leader for the Hornets this season, averaging 19.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.5 steals for the Hornets per game. Bridges in his own right has helped keep them in playoff contention with him averaging 20.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists over the last then games for Charlotte. The two have created a nice duo in Charlotte and will look to take advantage of an injured Clippers team.
The Spread Via FanDuel:
Moneyline: CHA: (-245) | LAC: (+200)
Spread: CHA: -6 (-110) | LAC: +6 (-110)
Final Prediction: Charlotte Hornets 115 Los Angeles Clippers 106
-While the Clippers fight hard every game, they are also surely to lose some due to their lack of star power. The Hornets on the other hand have two really good players in Ball and Bridges and have played well on their home court. The Clippers will make this game close, but I like Charlotte here to come out with the victory.