Tipoff: 9:30 PM EST.
Venue: Staples Center (Los Angeles, CA)
The Bobcats are currently at a very fragile state. Whenever you have young team that just can’t put it all together and consistently win games, they are going to get frustrated. So heading into this very tough back to back, with portland waiting for them tomorrow night, it’s very important that they keep their heads on straight and continue to play tough minded defensive basketball. I’m sure that Steve Clifford has prepared them for these next couple of games and told them that they are completely capable of winning both. There’s certainly no doubt that they are capable, it just all depends on what Bobcats team we get tonight. Do we get the team that played in Utah on Monday night? Or do we get the team that beat a good Golden State in early December. The bottom line is, a performance like the Cats put together in Utah is just not acceptable. It’s frustrating as a fan to watch, and I’m sure the same can be said for Steve Clifford and his staff.
As for the Clippers, they’ve been struggling a bit lately. They have lost three of their last four games. All be it 2 of those games were on the road against Golden State and Portland, with their most recent loss being handed to them by the surprising Phoenix Suns team. Blake Griffin is leading the way for them with 22 points, thanks in large part to the assists of Christ Paul (over 11 per game).
Things to watch:
1) Who guards Blake Griffin? Griffin plays the 4 spot, which is controlled by a committee that includes Josh McRoberts and Cody Zeller for Charlotte. At first glance both those matchups seem to heavily favor the Clips, so what will Clifford do. Maybe we see a rare Jeff Adrien citing. As he is a big guy that wouldn’t be afraid to buck up to an aggressive Blake Griffin.
2) How does Kemba Walker shoot tonight? Walker has been horrendous from the field lately. How will he respond when his team needs him.
3) Does Coach Clifford change anything up? This team has lost 4 of their last 5 and they have done it in a rather frustrating fashion. It’s important for this team to stay dedicated to their defensive success, so what does coach do. My bet is that the guys didn’t have a great New Years eve last night after Coach Clifford got done with them earlier that day.
PG: Chris Paul
SG: Gordon Heyward
SF: Jared Dudley
PF: Blake Griffin
C: DeAndre Jordan
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Gerald Henderson
Who wins the game?
Even though the Bobcats have really struggled lately, and don’t matchup particularly well, I think they’ll put together a decent performance tonight. I don’t expect them to come out on top, but a trend this season for Charlotte has been playing to the level of their competition. Hopefully that bodes well for the Cats, as they face a talented Clippers team.
Bobcats 88 - Clippers 97
Lead Hornets Writer: Jonathon Hoppe