By Dylan MacKinnon
Man the Sixers needed a game like this. They didn’t just beat the Hornets, they smoked them. After an ugly loss to the Pistons on Thursday night, the Sixers desperately needed to right their ship. They did so in a big way. They blow out Charlotte by the tune of 144-114. As a team, they shot over 60% from the field and nearly 50% from deep.
The first quarter started a bit slow, but it didn’t take long for the Sixers to get going. After falling behind 8-2 they quickly turned that into an 18-13 lead. By the end of the quarter, it was 29-26. That was thanks in large part to Tobias Harris nailing 3 3pters in 6 minutes. But they also shot well as a team, with a FG% over 52%. More notably, there was ball movement. 11 of the 12 Sixers field goals in the first quarter were assisted. They had just 22 all game in a loss to the Pistons Thursday night. Harden led the way with 5 of those assists, while Embiid threw in 3 of his own.
Turnovers plagued them through the first half. 17 minutes into the game they already turned it over 10 times and allowed 13pts off those turnovers. In the 2nd quarter, they had 2 turnovers within 30 seconds that led to 5pts and tied the game. But the turnovers were perhaps the lone blotch for the Sixers in the first half. Otherwise, they shot 56% and held the Hornets to 42%. They also outrebounded the Hornets 30-17 and had 17 assists. Embiid had 19 pts, and 11 rebounds by halftime, while Harris scored 16 of his own while shooting 4 of 7 from deep.
It didn’t take long for the Sixers to break the game open in the second half though. Maxey quickly scored 11pts after making only one bucket in the first half. Thybulle contributed with two 3s and three steals. Embiid added 10 to his total to get up to 29. And this was one lead they did not blow. The lead got as high as 35pts before they emptied the bench.
Tonight's Call of the Game comes courtesy of the hustle of Matisse Thybulle, who not only hit a 3, but then immediately got the steal and found James Harden for a layup, as called by Tom McGinnis. pic.twitter.com/o4AHxtMTti— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) April 2, 2022
And the bench held their own as well. They scored 49 as a unit after only managing 8 pts Thursday night. Pretty much everything, outside the turnover issue, went the Sixers’ way.
It had been an ugly week for the Sixers. But they played their best game in a long time, and at the exact time they needed it to right their ship. It broke the 3 game losing streak, but also let the starters rest late in the game. Something that should come in handy with them having a quick turnaround and a game in Cleveland tomorrow night.
They improve to 47-30. For now, they remain in the 4 seed. They are a .5 game back from the Celtics, a full game back from the Bucks, and 2 back from the Heat. The Celtics and Bucks both have today off, but play tomorrow at noon, while the Heat will face the Bulls tonight at 8. Sixers return tomorrow night to face the Cavs in Cleveland with a 6 pm tip.