Key Matchup vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist vs. Brandon Ingram
The Charlotte Hornets will look to shake off a disappointing loss on Saturday night when they close out their four-game homestand against the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has continued to show increased versatility for the Hornets, posting 10.8 points on 44.9 percent shooting, 4.8 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.0 steal over his last five appearances. The former Kentucky Wildcat also leads the Hornets in turnover ratio (4.3 percent) and ranks second in both defensive rating (102.0) and net rating (5.3).
Brandon Ingram is beginning to show flashes of the player the Lakers hoped they were getting when they made him the second overall pick two summers ago. The Duke University product and North Carolina native is averaging 22.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals over his last four outings for Los Angeles, which includes a career-high 32-point performance against Golden State on Nov. 29.
Ingram is an explosive player who uses his athleticism and length to generate offense around the rim (53.1 percent of his FGA come within 10 feet of the basket). Kidd-Gilchrist will need to use his physicality and size advantage to force Ingram into taking as many outside shots as possible.