One day a team with a record of 14-7 plays OT game against the defending champions and loses in a very close fight, next day they meet the team that was considered as one of the weakest prior the start of the season … and the line is still only –2.5 points?
It is true that both of those teams have overachived expectations, but levels of quality are different here and the Hornets already are showing some signs of slowing down their pace. After starting the season with 8-7 record they have now lost 5 of their last 6 games winning the Suns two days ago. Although they have played 4 of those 5 losses as away games they haven´t showed anything spectacular – Dallas, Memphis, Boston and Sacramento have beaten the Hornets with quite a marging, while losing to the Blazers after OT could be the lowest point here.
You may say that Sam Cassell has done the magic again. Like few years ago with the T`Wolves Sam has turned the Clippers from the lottery team to a play-off contender. The Clippers have lost 7 games, but non of them against the sure “no playoff” team (which the Hornets should be even with their good start). After losing last 2 games against the Pistons and the Spurs meeting the Hornets should feel much like a relief so we expect the Clippers to come out strong although playing 2nd night in a row.
Two youngsters J.R. Smith and Chris Paul will face very experienced backcourt of the Clippers tonight (Cassell and Mobley). Young legs vs experience should be quite an equal matchup here, but down low the Clippers (Brand, Kaman, Ross) will simply just kill the Hornets non existant frontcourt. Expect the Clippers to cover and take the line with medium+ stakes!
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