What to Watch: 76ers vs Hornets
The 1st seeded Philadelphia 76ers will host the Charlotte Hornets tonight at the Wells Fargo at 7:00 PM. The Sixers are coming off a day’s rest after demolishing the Orlando Magic on New Years Eve. The Sixers led by 35 points at the end of the 1st half in that game, their fourth-largest lead in franchise history. The Hornets are looking to get back to .500 on the season after losing to an undermanned Grizzles team 108-93. As always with the Sixers, consistency is the key to success.
Here’s what I’m keeping an eye on tonight vs the Hornets.
Through the first four games of the season, the Sixers were 28th in the NBA in three point shooting (31 percent) and 23rd in opponents the point shooting (40.5 percent). Those numbers changed drastically vs the Magic. The Sixers made 15 of 33 attempts from long-range while Orlando shot 7 of 28. Tobias Harris hit threes in transition and Seth Curry made 5 of 7 threes. Ben Simmons and Dwight Howard hit three pointers during the game too.
Seth Curry is by no means a carbon copy of JJ Redick. His release and ability to move around screens isn’t as quick. Curry can however, run a great pick and roll which led him to a 17 point performance vs the Magic , shooting 7 for 12 overall and 5 for 7 from three point range. Yes, the points are important but what’s even more important is the spacing it provides the Sixers when you have everyone taking shots from outside the paint. We got a glimpse of how dangerous this team can be when perimeter shots are falling. It’s a recipe for success that the Sixers should carry with them as the season continues.
The Big Man in the Post
Joel Embiid is playing at an MVP-Level through the first five games of the season. Against Orlando, Embiid finished with 21 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. Embiid has been the best player on the floor in every single game to date.
Most notably for Embiid, is his ability to pass out of double-teams this year. This is something he has struggled with in the past. This season, along with keeping up with the Sixers’ fast-paced offense, Embiid has looking much more comfortable moving the ball out of double teams. He’s finally looking to pass and find an open shooter along the perimeter or even Ben Simmons underneath the basket.
Watch the ball movement in the play below vs the Magic.
The Sixers go as Embiid goes. The fact that we have already seen clear signs of progression from Embiid this year in only five games is a great sign for the Sixers.
Shake Milton and the bench
After a rough game (for everyone) against the Cavaliers, I pointed out that the bench needs to perform better in order for the Sixers to find success more easily this season. That’s exactly what happened against the Magic on New Year’s Eve. Shake Milton led the charge with 14 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks. More importantly, Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle had bounce-back games for the Sixers’ bench, scoring a combined 19 points, with 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.
The Sixers bench got extended playing time due to the blow-out victory, but the bench’s success should never be downplayed this season. This is an area that the Sixers have lacked contribution from in year’s past and is very important to the success of this team moving forward.
Hornets’ guards Devonte Graham and Terry Rozier had terrible games in their last outing vs the Grizzles and will definitely be looking to bounce back vs the Sixers tonight. The duo shot a combined 2-21 from the floor. I wouldn’t expect tonight to be any easier for the two since they will have to face DPOY front-runner Ben Simmons.
With the 76ers playing at home against a Hornets team that overall, simply isn’t that good. The 1st seeded Philadelphia 76ers should walk away with an easy victory to improve to 5-1 on the season.
Mandatory Credit: USA Today