Heading into Wednesday night's game against the Charlotte Hornets, the Philadelphia 76ers had two active significant win streaks. In their last seven games, the Sixers found success and picked up wins over the Washington Wizards, Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, and the Houston Rockets on two occasions.
With the Hornets in town, the Sixers were looking to make it eight in a row as they had an opportunity to build on their season-high win streak after beating it with a win in Houston on Monday.
However, the seven-game win streak wasn't the only one they could build on on Wednesday. With the Hornets in town, the Sixers had an opportunity to defeat Charlotte for the 17th-straight time. The last time the Sixers fell short to the Hornets was on November 2, 2016.
Ever since then, they've been on a tear when facing the Hornets. This season, the 76ers and the Hornets faced off twice in Charlotte back in December. While the Hornets came close to breaking out of the Sixers slump in the first outing as they forced overtime, Philadelphia came out on top with a 127-124 win.
Two nights later, the Sixers picked up a four-point victory in regulation. Those first two losses must've given the Hornets extra motivation on Wednesday night as Charlotte came out hot in South Philly on Wednesday.
Although the Sixers outscored the Hornets 35-34 in the first quarter of action, the Sixers were simply outplayed for the remainder of the game as the lead changed just once early on in the second half.
While the Sixers teased a possible comeback on several occasions, they could never get close enough to pose a threat to Charlotte. In the end, the Hornets snapped the 16-game losing streak to the Sixers by upsetting them 109-98 on their home court. With that loss, the Sixers picked up their 17th loss of the season, which becomes their first defeat of the new year.
76ers vs. Hornets Player Observations
Lately, Thybulle’s been showing a lot more improvement on the offensive end, but he didn’t produce much on Wednesday. Getting up just two shots in 15 minutes, Thybulle was not only the one starter that didn’t notch double digits in scoring but he simply didn’t score at all.
After popping up on the injury report with shoulder soreness, Harris was cleared for action a couple of hours before tip-off. In the first half, Harris looked rough as he shot just 2-7 from the field. He looked much better in the second half, though, as he collected 11 points. Harris just needs to be more consistent for all four quarters.
The big man collected over 30 points once again. He knocked down 10 of his 17 shots from the field and drained 10 of his 14 free throws in 32 minutes. While Embiid was the best player on the floor for the Sixers, he turned the ball over way too many times as he contributed to seven of Philadelphia’s 17 turnovers.
When Seth Curry doesn’t shoot, the Sixers struggle a lot. It’s not that Curry wasn’t draining shots on Wednesday, he just wasn’t really attempting much. Through the first half, Curry attempted just two shots. By the end of the night, he finished the game up with just seven total shots from the field. Considering he’s their most reliable shooter, the Sixers could’ve used a lot more from Curry.
The young guard returned to the floor after a four-game absence after he was in the health and safety protocol. Maxey was shaking off rust as he’s had much better nights. He scored just ten points in 38 minutes. From the field, Maxey made just four of his 13 attempts. On a positive note, he went 2-4 from three and didn’t turn the ball over at all.
The veteran forward has been dealing with a ton of minor setbacks throughout the year. For a moment, it seemed Green was going to be one of Philly’s better players on Wednesday but another injury prevented him from doing so. In the first quarter, Green was a perfect 2-2 from three and drained a free throw for seven points in six minutes. After going down with a hip injury, Green left the court to get checked out. Although he was cleared to return, he was far from one-hundred percent. Therefore, he played just three more minutes before getting shut down for the rest of the game.
Lately, Korkmaz has been hot and cold after climbing out of his slump. Wednesday night was one of his better performances as he went 4-7 from the field and drained 50-percent of his threes. Korkmaz led the Sixers’ bench with 14 points in 26 minutes of action.
While Drummond didn’t contribute much on the offensive end, Doc Rivers decided to roll with the Drummond/Embiid lineup for the second time this year as the veteran backup could help with some boards. Drummond wrapped up the night with eight rebounds. Once again, the lineup looked promising but it didn’t create the impact that Rivers hoped it would.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.