After a tough weekend stretch, the Charlotte Bobcats will be in Los Angeles tonight to face the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are 40-18 and sit at the third seed in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Bobcats have the league’s worst record at 13-43.
Following a short string of close games, the Bobcats have lost four of their last five games by double digits, including a 30-point loss to the Chicago Bulls and a 24-point loss to the Indiana Pacers. The Bobcats are all but limping to the finish line with just 24 games left
The most interesting matchup in tonight’s game will be Kemba Walker taking on MVP-Candidate Chris Paul. Against the Clippers earlier this year, Walker had just 17 points and six assists in a Bobcats loss at home. Walker’s picked up his three-point shooting in the past five games, shooting over 50% from downtown.
Despite a poor shooting night, Paul had a double-double with 19 points, ten assists and five rebounds in the last matchup. Throughout his basketball career, Chris Paul has been a rare talent that can impact a game without being a great scorer. One of the best leaders in the league, Paul directs the Clippers with his passing and defensively.
Transition defense is going to be key tonight as well. The Clippers are a team that loves to push the tempo off stops and get their athletes in the open floor. With Blake Griffin, Deandre Jordan, and Eric Bledsoe among others, the Clippers possess a good bit of freakish athleticism on their team. They’re always aiming to make highlight plays. The Bobcats need to do a better job keeping up with the pace and getting bodies on players. This might be one of the things Mike Dunlap went over in yesterday’s two-hour, defense-specific practice.
The Bobcats are at a huge disadvantage talent wise against the Clippers. There isn’t a matchup on the floor where they have an edge, and the Clippers are a title contender. Last time the Bobcats were in Los Angeles it was to face the Lakers, and the team almost came out with a victory. The Bobcats will need to display that type of energy level and scoring from the jump if they want to have a chance at stealing a game on the road against Lob City.