The Philadelphia 76ers (11-25) start a tough stretch against teams in the Eastern Conference playoff picture tonight with a match-up against the Charlotte Hornets (20-19). The Sixers have won four of their last five games, but after playing Charlotte, they head to Washington (19-19), play Milwaukee (19-18) on Monday and host Toronto (25-13) on Wednesday. These upcoming games will provide a good test for a Sixers team that has really played efficiently as of late. Meanwhile, the Hornets have lost three in a row and five of their last six.
The Sixers and Hornets met early on in the season, with Charlotte comfortably winning by a score of 103-93. Philadelphia led 53-46 at halftime, but the Hornets outscored them 39-20 in the third and 63-40 in the second half overall. Nicolas Batum scored 17 of his 20 points for the game in the third quarter dominated by Charlotte, hitting six of eight from beyond the arc. Philadelphia turned the ball over eight times, resulting in 12 points for the opposition. Joel Embiid did not play in this game and Jahlil Okafor was on a minutes restriction at the time, so Richaun Holmes was the teams' starting center. Ersan Ilyasova and Dario Saric led the Sixers with 14 points a piece.
The NBA released their second All-Star voting update on Thursday and Joel Embiid is still shown in fourth, but has gained grown on third place Kevin Love. He only trails by 16,028 and fan voting ends on Monday, January 16 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Embiid got support from his favorite professional wrestler on Thursday as well, as Triple-H responded to a tweet from Joel to endorse the rookie for this year's All-Star game in New Orleans. The tweet read "To play the game you gotta go through The Process". Unfortunately, Triple-H didn't include Embiid's name in his tweet, so his #NBAVote technically won't count. Pretty cool anyway, though.
Noel satisfied with role:
After being relegated to third center upon return from injury, Nerlens Noel has emerged as the primary back-up to Joel Embiid and is embracing the role. In four games during 2017 thus far, Noel is averaging 10.5 points on 62.1 percent shooting to go along with 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game.
"At this moment in time, I'm definitely satisfied with where I'm at and the team's rotation," Noel said, according to Philly.com's Keith Pompey. "I think I'm able to go out there and still affect the game, change the game in multiple ways. ...
"You now see how comfortable I can feel throughout the duration of the season, being at the place that I am at. So, right now, I feel pretty good. So we will just have to see."
Philadelphia has the opportunity to extend Noel a $5.8 million qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent this summer unless they find a trade suitor prior to the deadline on March 1.
Previous Game Rewind:
Sixers: In the most dramatic win of their season, the Sixers erased a 10-point deficit with two minutes to play in order to defeat the Knicks, 98-97. Joel Embiid scored eight points in a minute and 27 seconds and TJ McConnell hit the game-winning fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to seal the win. Embiid finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds while Nerlens Noel scored 13 to go along with eight boards in 21 minutes.
Hornets: Charlotte fell victim to another James Harden triple-double, falling to Houston by a 121-114 score the last time out. The Hornets cut into the Rockets 18-point lead late in the fourth, thanks in large part to missing 10 straight shots. Houston came out of a timeout and regrouped to hold on for the win. Kemba Walker cut it to one within a minute to play, but a Harden jumper made it three and the Hornets couldn't tie it. Walker scored 25 and dished out 10 assists.
|Matchup Preview | January 13, 2017|
(20-19, 8-12 Away)
(11-25, 7-14 Home)
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Stream Live: CSNPhilly.com, NBC Sports Live Extra