Key Matchup vs. Indiana Pacers: Kemba Walker vs. Victor Oladipo
The second leg of a three-game road trip for the Charlotte Hornets tips off on Monday night as they'll take on the hometown Indiana Pacers for the first time this season.
Kemba Walker has been having his best stretch of the year for the Hornets, putting up 25.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.6 steals over his last five appearances. The ninth-leading scorer in the Eastern Conference is also one of just seven active NBA players averaging at least 22.0 points, 5.0 assists and 1.0 steal per game this campaign (James Harden, LeBron James, Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, DeMar DeRozan and Lou Williams).
On the other side, the Pacers will keep riding first-time All-Star, Victor Oladipo, who has thrived since arriving in the Paul George deal last summer. A fifth-year veteran who also played college ball at Indiana University, Oladipo is putting up career highs in scoring (24.1 PPG; 5th in the Eastern Conference), rebounding (5.2), field-goal percentage (48.5 percent), three-point percentage (39.6 percent) and steals (1.93; T-6th in the NBA).
While Oladipo technically starts off the ball with Darren Collison slotted into the first-string point guard spot, he is undoubtedly Indiana's primary catalyst in the backcourt much like Walker is for Charlotte. Both players have been on fire for their respective teams lately and their matchup could ultimately be the deciding factor in the season-series opener between the two sides.