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Clippers @ Hornets Predictions: Charlotte +8 is the way to go

Can Kawhi Leonard lead his Clippers past the Hornets tonight?
Can Kawhi Leonard lead his Clippers past the Hornets tonight?
By Zachary Rainey

Will Clippers come out blazing, or go on cruise control to end season?

The Los Angeles Clippers put their 38-30-1 record against the spread on the line tonight when they travel to Charlotte for a matchup with rookie sensation LaMelo Ball, as well as Terry Rozier.

The Hornets have been an interesting story this season. Few predicted the team would’ve been this good, as there were many about Ball coming out of the draft process. Some think he tanked his interviews with teams picking ahead of Charlotte on purpose so he would fall to the Hornets so he could play for Michael Jordan.

And Ball proved a lot of the doubters wrong. He’s currently the favorite to take home the Rookie of the Year award and has helped the Hornets to the Eastern Conference’s No. 8 seed and sit tied with the Indiana Pacers.

Tonight will be a big test for the Hornets, as they’re +8 underdogs when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George come to town.

The Clippers are fifth in the league overall ATS, but those numbers dip when they’re an away favorite, as they’re just 14-12-1 in that situation. 

As the home underdog, the Hornets are 12-8-1, covering the spread 60 percent of the time. 

This is the toughest game remaining on the Clippers’ schedule, as they take on the Houston Rockets tomorrow and the Oklahoma City Thunder to close out the season Sunday.

Like I mentioned yesterday, it’s all about what you have to play for at this point. I think that was a major reason neither LeBron James or Anthony Davis played in their game yesterday, as the Los Angeles Lakers are more than likely locked into the No. 7 seed, trailing Dallas by a game for the six.

The Clippers are in a similar situation. They have an easy schedule to close things out and a win in at least two of their final three should be enough to hold onto the No. 3 seed.

As for Charlotte, a loss and Pacers win could drop the Hornets to the No. 9 seed. In a matchup against Boston, I like the Hornets to win that one if that ends up to be the seven-eight matchup.

But if the Hornets and Pacers flipped, they would have to take on Russell Westbrook and the Washington Wizards. If they have Bradley Beal back for the play-in tournament, that’s one team I would not want to play right now.

I’m not courageous enough to say the Hornets are going to win outright, but I feel this game means more to Charlotte. If they get ahead early, I could see the Clippers stars just trying to get business done the next night at Houston.

Charlotte +8 is my pick.

As for my prop pick of the game, let's take Leonard under 5.5 assists. 

Like I said above, if the Hornets get ahead late, I could see the Clippers packing it in and just trying to get the job done tomorrow against the Rockets, so Leonard might not see his usual minutes tonight. 

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