Sixers star Joel Embiid returned after missing the last game and combined 60 points with Tobias Harris to lead the team with a 118-111 NBA match result victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday at the Spectrum Center.
The first two meetings occurred in early January. Although Charlotte put up a good fight, unfortunately they felt shorthanded to take down the Sixers in South Philly. That resulted a back-to-back win for the 76ers.
The Sixers got off to a spectacular start, despite being 0-4 from the field, Embiid with a three sparked the rest of the team for the rest of the first quarter, putting up almost 60 percent of their shots from the field.
To no surprise, Embiid led the charge as he put up 13 points off of eight shots. Sixers head coach Doc Rivers felt comfortable enough to roll with an all-bench lineup after about ten minutes, thus the Sixers had an early 30-13 lead over the Hornets.
As the Hornets tried to climb their way back into the game, the Sixers didn’t allow their lead to slip up, as they kept their shot selections in finesse being 53 percent accurate in the second quarter.
Embiid, who had a hot start, continued contributing to the scoreboard as he knocked down seven of his 20 total first-half points in the second quarter, while Danny Green and Shake Milton contributed enough points to keep them going.
While the Hornets put up a much better fight in the second quarter, they were still outscored by five points. Heading into halftime, the Sixers had a significant lead over the Hornets as they went up 64-42 before the break.
When both teams came out for the second half, the tables turned a bit. After taking their foot off the gas, the Sixers struggled to gain a rhythm in the third quarter giving the Hornets an opportunity to climb back.
With a solid quarter led by Devonte’ Graham, the Hornets managed to knock down 55-percent of their shots from the field and hit on 70-percent of their threes off of 10 attempts. Although the Hornets outscored the Sixers for the first time on Wednesday night by nine points in the third, Philly remained in the lead heading into the fourth.
The momentum remained with the Hornets as they teased a potential fourth-quarter comeback. However, the Sixers had just enough juice left to hold on to the lead and leave the Spectrum Center with their third-straight road win before heading home to take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night.
“We just went 3-0 on the road trip. That’s the way I look at it,” coach Rivers said after the win over the Hornets, Pacers (Sunday), and Minnesota Timberwolves (Friday).
“It’s funny. I always laugh like we earn that big lead by playing well. Then when you don’t play well in the second half, sometimes you can get lost in just that you didn’t play well in that half and not think about all the things we did to get a 24-point lead.”
Rivers said Sixers “let our foot off the floor” and lost focus. But they did enough to win on the road. So he’ll take it. The coach told his players they are better than they played in the second half, but couldn’t play much better than in the first half.
“But going on the trip being, 3-0, that was our goal coming out,” he said, “and that’s what we did.”
Sixers center Joel Embiid led the team in scoring as he put up a double-double performance with 34 points and 11 rebounds. With Wednesday night’s 118-111 win, the Sixers improve to 16-6 on the year, remaining on top of the Eastern Conference.