By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers entered tonight’s final game of their two-game series with the Charlotte Hornets, looking to continue their offensive dominance. The Sixers once again used a strong shooting performance to sting the Hornets 118-101. The Sixers now have a 6-1 record that is a league best and they now sit at the top of the loaded Eastern Conference.
Early in the game it was a back and forth match-up. The Hornets made some huge adjustments to make it tougher for the Sixers to score. Off the double team of center Joel Embiid, they made sure to get back to the shooters. This made it difficult for Philly’s shooters to get easy looks. Due to that adjustment the Sixers missed their first couple of shots from the field. It took a strong performance from forward Tobias Harris, center Joel Embiid , guard/forward Ben Simmons, and guard Seth Curry. The four of them combined for 59-points.
The shooting of Harris really helped spark their offense. Harris scored 22-points, hit two three-pointers, and grabbed five rebounds. This was his fourth straight game scoring 20 or more points. If Harris continues to be a reliable option that makes the Philly offense even more dangerous, and the best thing about this scoring streak from Harris has been his decisiveness. He isn’t playing scared and it is rubbing off on his teammates on both ends of the floor.
On the team’s performance, “We have a long way to go, and I think that’s the beauty of it. We’re trying to push for something greater,” Harris said.
The Hornets for their part would not go away quietly. Their scoring and defense kept them in the game. They forced the Sixers shooters off their spots and did not make it easy for them. Hornets forward Gordon Hayward kept them in it. He scored 18-points, and kept them in it by hitting some timely shots over the length of the Sixers defenders.
Whenever the Hornets got something started the Sixers would go on two runs that made the difference in this game. In the second quarter they went on a 27-7 run to close the first half which put them up by 15, and a 7-0 run in the third quarter to put them back up by 15.
Now the Sixers are on a six-game winning streak, and now enter a tough stretch of their schedule. They face the Washington Wizards on Wednesday and then have what could be an Eastern Conference finals preview with the new-look Brooklyn Nets. The Sixers will need their offensive and defensive prowess to keep both teams in check.