Los Angeles Clippers vs. Charlotte Hornets
7:30 p.m. PST
March 17, 2015
FOX Prime Ticket
Video of the Day
One Hornets fan is happy the team is on the road…
1. Will the Hornets make the playoffs?
Doug Branson, Queen City Hoops, (@QCHDoug): The fastball out of the gate for the guest poster. Wow. You could have asked me the meaning of life and I may have had a more definitive answer for you. Right now we’re playing “one on, one off” basketball, if that continues my answer is absolutely not. .500 basketball won’t get you a 7 or 8 spot in the East with the Heat, Celtics and Pacers all surging and with one of the tougher schedules remaining amongst those teams I mentioned. If the Hornets can get their act together defensively and stop giving up 30+ point first quarters then we certainly have a shot. If we keep pretending the three point line is an impassible force field on defense…then…at least I won’t have to dig in couch cushions for playoff ticket money.
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): I’ll say, no. The Pacers are playing too well, even if they have lost a couple straight, to fall out of the inside. Boston is hot, too. Meanwhile, Miami is playing just as competently as Charlotte. All those teams essentially have the same record, but it seems most likely Steve Clifford and his boys will be on the outside looking in.
J.D. Evans: As of this moment they’re in a four way tie with two teams that are undoubtedly better than they are (Miami, Indiana) and one team that’s baffling (Boston); only two of those four can make it. Whiteside might destroy the Heat’s locker room, and George’s return might ruin Indiana’s chemistry, and Brad Stevens might get an executive order to tank, but I have difficulty believing that two of those three will happen.
2. What’s the key matchup in this game?
Branson: Has to be Chris Paul versus the litany of defenders he’ll see via coach Steve Clifford. He’ll see a lot of MKG (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) I imagine who has been a utility defender to try and hide Mo Williams’ defense. He could see Kemba but there’s no definitive word on how long he’ll play or if he’ll start. And he may accidentally run into Al Jefferson on his way to the basket, but I’m pretty sure he’ll get out of the way in time.
Katz: Al Jefferson vs. DeAndre Jordan. DeAndre has been wonderful as a defender for the past couple months, but post defense still isn’t his strength. If he’s going to be effective in the post, it’s usually against a more finesse, length-driven guy like Tim Duncan or LaMarcus Aldridge. Give him Al, who has a bevy of moves right around the rim, and there’s always a chance he could struggle.
J.D. Evans: Jefferson and Jordan. If DJ really wants to be named player of the year (he won’t beat Draymond, though), he needs to shut down Jefferson. The Jazz destroyed the Hornets last night, in part because of the Favors/Gobert frontline. If DJ can do that by himself, the Clippers should win easily.
3. Is Nate Robinson going to hang around past his first 10-day contract?
Branson: YOU GUYS HAVE NATE. That’s so cool. Before we got Mo, I really wanted the Hornets to give Nate a run. He’s so fun and cool to watch. At least he used to be. I’m sure there are good basketball AND non-basketball reasons he never hangs with a team. He probably hordes all the good towels or never washes his hands or listens to country western/hip-hop blends with no headphones or SOMETHING, right? Anyhow I just read that the Clippers signed him to a second ten day so consider this question “expertly answered.”
Katz: Nate did get hot for a quarter against Houston. That was somewhat encouraging. And usually, getting a first 10-day contract from Doc Rivers means you’re going to get a second one, but unless Robinson’s play vastly improves, his conditioning gets better and he starts creating space for himself on the offensive end, he’s not someone who can help the Clippers, especially once Jamal Crawford returns.
J.D. Evans: On the one hand, Nate’s shooting under 25% for the Clippers. On the other hand, he’s been decent in the last couple of games, he’s one of Doc’s guys, and the Clippers can do with a third option at point guard. So, implausible though it is, all signs point to yes.
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