The Clippers and Hornets are two of the handful of teams that just aren’t fun to watch play in the NBA right now.
Los Angeles started the season 4–0 but then endured a flurry of injuries to players who have yet to recover. After their seventh loss in a row last night in Cleveland, the Clippers are now 5–9.
Charlotte was supposed to compete any team in the Eastern Conference other than the top tier of Boston, Cleveland, Toronto and Washington but that hasn’t happened. The Hornets lost their sixth consecutive game last night in Chicago to the team considered by many to be the worst in the whole Association.
So why would you want to watch these two teams play on a Saturday night in November? Because gambling.
Ironically, Blake Griffin is healthy while just about half the Clippers’ team is not. Griffin is having a great season as the head honcho without Chris Paul running the offense. He’s averaging over 23 a game and does as much damage from in and he does from out, shooting better than 35 percent from three.
The good news is that all three should be on their way back momentarily now. The trio is on the trip with their teammates (the Clippers go to New York, Atlanta and Sacramento next week) but it’s doubtful they will play as soon as Saturday night.
That makes things hard for a team that is already well understaffed and now has to play a second night of a back-to-back on the road with another relatively quick turnaround in New York on Monday. Add Sindariius Thornwell to a long list of impressive rookies in the first month of the season. He has filled in admirably in a scorer’s role on the wing. But neither he nor Austin Rivers play much defense. DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Johnson don’t offer up much offense. Griffin is their only two-way player at the moment.
He’ll more than likely make it a long night for Marvin Williams, who is Charlotte’s best option to stop Griffin when he really isn’t much of an option at all. The Hornets are not equipped to stop Blake Griffin. Dwight Howard is much too slow and he’ll be busy banging with Jordan all evening. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nic Batum are both too small. So Williams will have to try.
But remember those Clippers guards who don’t like to play defense? One has to try and stop Kemba Walker, if he has anything left in the tank. Walker dropped 47 last night, which makes Charlotte’s loss that much more pathetic. He’ll be weary, no doubt, but dropping 25 the night after 47 will feel like an off-night for him. Who will make up for the rest, though?
There are two ways to look at this game in regard to the total. The first is that neither team is particularly offensively adept. Kemba Walker will be sluggish, which will slow down the entire Hornets’ offense and that it goes under. The other is that neither team has an answer for the other team’s best scorer and that there will be tired legs all around, which usually means less defense.
Kemba might be tired but I don’t think he’ll show it as soon as this evening. He’s a prideful guy and he knows how much he does to both score and create for his teammates. He’ll get this game going up and down and both teams will do their part to push this one over the number.
Free Pick: Over 212