The LA Clippers are in a stretch of inconsistency for the past six weeks or so, but every game is an opportunity to get on the right path again, starting with Saturday’s clash at Staples Center against the Charlotte Hornets. These aren’t Muggsy Bogues’ Hornets, as Gordon Hayward and rookie LaMelo Ball have joined up in Charlotte to help them approach relevance again.
When: Saturday, Mar. 20 at 7 p.m. PT
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
How to watch/listen: Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570 Radio
Opposing perspective: At The Hive
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers (26-16): Reggie Jackson, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Ivica Zubac, Marcus Morris Sr.
Hornets (20-20): Gordon Hayward, P.J. Washington, Bismack Biyombo, Terry Rozier, LaMelo Ball
Clippers: Serge Ibaka (back tightness) — QUESTIONABLE; Patrick Beverley (knee soreness) — OUT
Hornets: Cody Zeller (shoulder) — OUT; Terry Rozier (leg) — QUESTIONABLE
So this could be a huge revenge game for Nicolas Batum, who had been buried on a bad Hornets’ squad and has basically revitalized his career with the Clippers this season. That said, he’s also seemed to hit a wall lately and lost his spot in the starting lineup to Marcus Morris Sr. this week. That’s probably how it should be, honestly, but LA could use a redoubled effort from Batum, among others, as they try to get back on track, having lost eight of their last 13 games. That includes a midweek loss to the Dallas Mavericks on the road, a couple nights after the Clippers took the first game in the teams’ set.
Still, Charlotte haven’t been lighting it up on the road this season, as they are mired in a 10-game losing streak on the road at present, most recently falling to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. Ball made his first hometown-ish appearance in the pros in that game, but the wins aren’t coming away from home at the moment.
Add to that, the Hornets haven’t beaten the Clippers in LA since 2009. That’s the kind of mark that stretches so far back that they could very well be due a win.
I think the Clippers are favored here and they should be, considering they should be favored in nearly every game they play, but they have to be wary of giving lackluster effort or struggle to execute and then watch the Hornets snap all their bad runs at once. On the bright side, the Clippers are still sprinkling in good performances with the bad, but with the playoffs getting ever closer, they need to tighten things up and really get ready for the business end of the season. Might as well get started against the Hornets Saturday night.