Key Matchup vs. Portland Trail Blazers: Kemba Walker vs. Damian Lillard
A battle between two of the NBA’s premier point guards gets underway Thursday night as the Hornets take on the Portland Trail Blazers in the third leg of a four-game road trip.
Kemba Walker has been as hot as in player in the league over the last week, posting averages of 28.4 points, 4.4 three-point field goals on 47.7 percent shooting, 3.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists in his last seven appearances for Charlotte. Along with LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, the seventh-year guard is in elite company as one of just four NBA players with at least 1,000 points, 150 rebounds, 275 assists and 50 steals this season.
The Eastern Conference’s ninth-leading scorer will be matched up against Damian Lillard, who is fresh of receiving his third-career NBA All-Star nomination. Now in his sixth season, the former Weber State Wildcat ranks ninth in the league in both scoring (25.1 points) and assists (6.6) and fifth in free-throw percentage (career-high 91.4 percent).
Sitting first (12.4) and second (11.2), respectively, in the league in pick-and-roll points per game, Lillard and Walker both possess extremely similar playing styles. With their showdown a potential stalemate, whichever point guard gets more from his supporting cast will likely be the one who comes out on top at the Moda Center tonight.