76ers Defeat the Hornets, Improving to Sixth in the Eastern Conference

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

The Sixers defeated the Hornets, 109-98 on Saturday, improving to a 37-30 record and sixth in the Eastern Conference.

The Philadelphia 76ers faced the Charlotte Hornets at home at the Wells Fargo Center. The game was competitive, as the Sixers were only leading 53-47 when the first half ended. But, they were able to pull away with victory after scoring 56 points in the second half, holding the Hornets to 51 points.

Although Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers all-star guard, lacked efficiency, shooting 8-20 from field goal, he still played phenomenally, as he scored 30 points to help the Sixers win. He also had three rebounds and four assists. 

Likewise, Kelly Oubre Junior played well. He was the second-leading scorer for the Sixers with 22 points and 8-16 shooting. Oubre contributed an assist and three rebounds. In the second quarter, Tyrese Maxey was elbowed by Brandon Miller, the second pick of the 2023 draft for the Charlotte Hornets. Maxey had a bloody nose, and Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul. A Flagrant 2 foul is assessed when a player makes unnecessary and excessive contact against an opponent, and the contact is deemed to be both intentional and severe. It is considered the most serious type of foul in basketball, as it not only results in personal and team fouls but also in immediate ejection from the game. As a result, Brandon Miller was ejected from the game. Despite his bleeding nose, Maxey seemed genuinely enthusiastic. 

Tre Mann, a key player for the Charlotte Hornets, had a stellar performance, as he led his team in scoring with 21 points. He also contributed eight rebounds and six assists. He displayed an outstanding defensive performance by securing four steals throughout the game.

Despite the Hornets’ slightly higher field goal percentage at 45.1%, compared to the Sixers’ 44.4%, the Sixers dominated at the free-throw line, boasting an impressive 96.0% free-throw percentage, while the Hornets shot 77.8%. The Sixers also attempted way more free throws, 25 compared to eighteen. The free throw attempt discrepancy between the two teams played a crucial role in determining the outcome of the game, as the Sixers capitalized on their opportunities from the charity stripe. Overall, the Sixers’ proficiency from the free-throw line proved to be decisive in securing their victory.

This victory proved to be crucial, as they were able to jump to the sixth seed. With the intensity of the competition in the Eastern Conference, every win is vital for maintaining playoff positioning and momentum. If they lost this game, they would have fallen to the eighth seed, behind the Miami Heat. 

The Sixers have a 38-30 overall record, prior to the result of Wednesday night’s game against the Phoenix Suns, and have been struggling to play offense or defense in recent games. They have been short handed as important players like Joel Embiid and De’Anthony Melton have been out with injuries. Embiid was out with an injury in the left knee meniscus, and Melton was out with lumbar spine bone stress. It is hoped that these players will make a return soon.

The Sixers will face the Lakers on Friday night at Crypto.com Arena.

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