Key Matchup vs. L.A. Clippers: Dwight Howard vs. DeAndre Jordan
The Hornets will hope to get a repeat performance from star center Dwight Howard as their road trip continues in Los Angeles for a New Year’s Eve date with the hometown Clippers.
Howard is coming off undoubtedly his best outing of the year, finishing with a season-high 29 points, 13 rebounds, a career-high-tying seven assists and two steals in a 111-100 road win at Golden State on Dec. 29. The 2004 first overall pick is just the second NBA player in the last 20 seasons to record this particular statistical line at age 32 years or older (LeBron James).
The Charlotte big man will be matched up in the post with the league’s leading rebounder in DeAndre Jordan, who is now in his 10th season with the Clippers. A 2008 second-round pick out of Texas A&M, Jordan is averaging 11.1 points, 15.3 boards and 1.1 blocks (his lowest since 2009-10) per contest while also ranking second in the NBA in field-goal percentage (65.7 percent).
Nearly a third of Howard’s scoring this year is coming via second-chance points (4.5 per game; T-2nd in the NBA), which is an area he’ll need to take advantage of again on Sunday night. His ability to hold Jordan to another modest game (10 points and 14 rebounds at CHA on Nov. 18) could be the key to the Hornets starting their road trip 2-0.