Key Matchup vs. New Orleans Pelicans: Dwight Howard vs. DeMarcus Cousins

A pair of the NBA's premier centers will go head to head on Wednesday night when the hometown Charlotte Hornets take on the New Orleans Pelicans for the first time this season.

Currently the only player in the league averaging at least 15.0 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in January, first-year Hornet Dwight Howard is experiencing his best month of the 2017-18 campaign. The three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year has also grabbed at least 15 boards in each of his last five games, matching his longest such streak of the season.

Defensively, Howard will have quite a battle in the paint going against eighth-year veteran, DeMarcus Cousins, who ranks sixth in the league in scoring (25.6 points) and third in rebounding (12.9) right now. Cousins is also coming off a historical performance two nights ago against Chicago, when he became the first player since Wilt Chamberlain in 1968 with at least 40 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in a regular season game.

Thanks to his size (6'11" and 270 lbs) and versatile skill set, Cousins has unquestionably become one of the best all-around players in the NBA. Howard should look to establish a controlled, physical presence in the paint and be ready to adjust defensively when the Kentucky product starts spacing the floor offensively.