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Clippers vs. Hornets Preview: Can Luke Kennard continue to make it rain?

The former Blue Devil has come out firing on all cylinders.

LA Clippers v Orlando Magic Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

When Tyronn Lue was asked about how well Luke Kennard would do in the three-point contest in All-star weekend, he had faith in the second-year Clipper, replying, “I think he’d do great.”

Lue does have a point — Kennard holds the third-best three-point percentage in the league among players with at least 100 attempts, sinking in an impressive 43.9 percent of his long-range shots.

But statistics don’t do justice to the sharpshooter’s complete game. Although smaller and slower than most other players in the league, Kennard can do a lot of damage with the rock in his hands. He’s able to control the pace of the game, running plays and, when needed, threading the needle with his killer passes in the paint.

His greatest asset, however, undoubtedly is his shot.

He finishes with ease against taller defenders with his teardrop floaters inside the paint, blows by defenders for in-rhythm mid-range pull-up shots, and is automatic from downtown. And although 93 percent of his three-pointers made are assisted, he can, when necessary, create his own shot — most of the time with his crafty dribble move and signature step-back.

Let’s also not forget how crazy it is that he does all of that as a righty shooting with his non-dominant left hand.

Kennard, as of recent, has been showing more and more how great of a shooter he is: he’s averaging 19.8 points on 54.3 percent shooting, 3.3 assists, and 6.0 rebounds this week. He looks more confident with the ball; he’s been more aggressive on the offensive end and, in turn, taking better and quicker shots.

I mean, scoring seven points in the final nine seconds of a game is not too shabby, right?

It will now be the Charlotte Hornets’ turn to face off against ‘Cool Hand Luke’ and the Clippers. In this matchup of the West and East’s seventh seeds, keep an eye out for how the Clippers take advantage of the Hornets’ weak defense.

The Hornets, a younger team, do not play with an elite level of defensive cohesion that a tough-defending team like the Clippers does. Not to mention, their starting backcourt of LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier are two players whose defense is definitely not a strength of their game. Add a dynamic duo of Amir Coffey and Kennard into the mix, and the Clippers might have enough to consistently find the bottom of the net.

Stopping the Hornets, though, will be of more concern.

The team has one of the league’s best offenses, playing a very fast-paced and fun-to-watch type of ball. With players who could drop 20 any given night like Ball, Rozier, Miles Bridges, and Kelly Oubre Jr., they could be a handful for the Clippers, especially if they get it going early (it’s only been a few days since they threw a 158-point scoring party).

The Clippers, led by Kennard, will look to bounce back with a scoring parade of their own.


Game Information

When: Sunday, January 30 at 10 a.m. PT

Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC

How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN

Opposing perspective: At The Hive

Projected Starting Lineups

Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Amir Coffey, Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac

Hornets: LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Cody Martin, Miles Bridges, Mason Plumlee

Injuries/Absences

Clippers: Nicolas Batum — QUESTIONABLE; Paul George, Keon Johnson, Kawhi Leonard, Jason Preston — OUT

Hornets: Kelly Oubre Jr. — QUESTIONABLE; Vernon Carey Jr., Gordon Hayward, Kai Jones, Jalen McDaniels — OUT


This post will serve as the game thread. Enjoy the game, and comment below.