After picking up an impressive win at home, the Philadelphia 76ers hit the road on Wednesday to take on the Charlotte Hornets and begin a 3-game road trip. It was the second night of a back-to-back for Philadelphia and considering the injuries they’re dealing with, the Hornets offered a big challenge.
The Hornets were missing LaMelo Ball, and that’s obviously a huge piece missing for Charlotte, but the Sixers missing Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey makes for a tough challenge on the road. The Hornets were able to make enough plays to come away with a 107-101 win.
Once again relying on an all-around effort, Shake Milton had 22 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds, De’Anthony Melton had 20 points, six rebounds, and four steals, Tobias Harris added 19 points, and Montrezl Harrell added 16 and seven rebounds. Paul Reed had six and eight rebounds while Georges Niang added nine points while PJ Tucker had three points and seven rebounds.
Here are the player grades following the tough loss:
When Milton has a fixed role and he can be in a groove, then he is going to be effective as he has been recently. He was very good in this one in finding increases in the defense and being able to get to the basket. He also had success with his jumper being able to knock down the open looks he was able to find within the offense. He also was able to make plays with his passing as well and he was big in the fourth. The only negative was that he had issues on the defensive end defending Charlotte’s guards. He also had a few turnovers late that led to the Hornets running out so that was tough.
Obviously, somebody has to score with the team missing so many pieces, but Melton’s offensive game continues to be a bright spot for this group. He was terrific in the opening quarter as he set the tone for Philadelphia in the pick-and-roll. The Hornets played Mason Plumlee in drop coverage and Melton had easy opportunities to score in the mid-range. He was also such a pest on the defensive end as he continues to get comfortable with his new team. His negative was the turnovers as well as Charlotte took control of a weary team in the fourth.
Playing on the second night of a back-to-back and dealing with both a hip and an ankle injury, Harris continues to be a leader for this bunch. There were so many times when the Hornets switched a small man on him and he took advantage of a mismatch. However, overall, he didn’t shoot the ball well and he looked a little limited on the defensive end against Kelly Oubre Jr.. who had a few big buckets late for Charlotte.
Tucker finally drilled a big corner 3-pointer in the fourth quarter for his first points since Nov. 12 so at least he was finally able to break that streak. He was still able to be helpful to this group by making hustle plays and bothering the Hornets down low on defense, though. He also freed up the guards for so many looks easy on offense. With that being said, he looked a bit tired in the fourth quarter when a well-rested Charlotte team went on a run.
With the Sixers missing Embiid, they need offense with the starting lineup so it makes sense why they continue to go to Harrell. He has a strong ability to roll to the rim and even though he is having a hard time finishing around the rim at the moment, he draws a lot of fouls and he gets to the line often. That is a needed skill on this team. He also brings a ton of energy and hustle. The big knock on him in this one was the struggles on the defensive end.
The Minivan hopped off the bench and he immediately drilled a 3-pointer. He missed his next two after that to start his night off, but Niang had a nice night overall as he made two big ones in the fourth quarter to keep Philadelphia in it. He also made a few nice plays with his passing.
Looking to build off a strong performance on Tuesday, Reed was very aggressive on the glass in his initial stint. He also had a very nice bucket by being able to understand where the soft part of Charlotte’s defense was so he’s continuing to show off an improved understanding of where he needs to be.
The return of Korkmaz has been a nice help off the bench. He just has a knack for making some highlight plays and being able to knock down some tough shots. After his fast start, he didn’t do much after though.
It was a nondescript game for House Jr.! as he missed a corner triple and he didn’t do much on the defensive end either. He did grab a rebound and scored on free throws late in the game, but that was it.