The Philadelphia 76ers hit the court on Monday night to fire up the first of a two-game series against the Charlotte Hornets this week. While the Sixers were fortunate to get their starting power forward, Tobias Harris back in the mix after he missed Friday's game with an illness, the team had to play without its starting point guard, Tyrese Maxey, as he was feeling under the weather on Monday.
On the other side, Charlotte missed several key players. As the Hornets have been dealing with a COVID-19 spread among their roster, they were forced to play without LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Jaden McDaniels, Mason Plumlee, and Ish Smith on Monday as they were all entered into the NBA's health and safety protocol.
Despite having a shorthanded lineup on Monday, the Hornets weren't going to just roll over and allow the Sixers to get everything they wanted. Charlotte showed the 76ers that they mean business right out of the gate as they got off to a notable 34-23 lead in the first quarter of action.
The Sixers then countered with a major second-quarter performance and gained a five-point lead over the Hornets before heading into the half. Once again, the Hornets found a way to outplay the Sixers in the third quarter and kept the game close before heading into the final twelve minutes of action.
Both teams fought hard in regulation, but four quarters wasn't enough to settle the outcome of the game. As both teams were tied up at 119 in the end, Monday's matchup required overtime. That's when the Sixers found a way to get out in front with a 127-124 lead by the end of the extra period. With that win, the Sixers advance to 13-11 on the year. Now, let's observe the Sixers' individual player performances.
As Green works his way towards playing his regular amount of minutes again, the veteran is getting up more shots from the field. He collected nine points by draining three of his seven long-range attempts. Green's willingness to fire shots from deep remains a plus for the Sixers, but he has to take better care of the ball as he accounted for three of the team's 15 turnovers.
Lately, Harris has been off. Perhaps, his inability to remain healthy has made it difficult for him to establish a rhythm and hit his stride. He wasn't perfect in his return after missing Friday's game, but he had a monster third quarter, as he put up 13 points in nine minutes. He finished the night with 21 points and 11 rebounds in 40 minutes of action.
After having two lousy games in the shooting department in the first few games back since his battle with COVID-19, Joel Embiid has been nothing short of fantastic. He followed up his 28-point game in Atlanta with a 43-point outing in Charlotte. At a point late in the second half, Embiid did it all and willed his team to victory once again. As long as he maintains this high level of play and doesn't get gassed, the Sixers will always have a chance to win games.
Although the veteran guard's been sharp from the field lately, Monday wasn't his hottest night. Getting up 11 shots, Curry drained just three baskets for six points. He failed to connect on all six of his three-point attempts. Nights like this are expected every now and then, and the Sixers are likely far from concerned about Curry's forgettable night.
With Tyrese Maxey out of the lineup for the first time this season, Shake Milton got called up to the starting lineup. The young veteran was efficient on Monday night and drained all but two of his eight shots. He finished the game with 16 points, four rebounds, and two assists. He won't be taking Maxey's spot in the starting lineup anytime soon, but Milton continues to look solid.
Lately, Thybulle's been showing tons of value on the defensive side of the ball and even showing some nice flashes on offense as well. However, Monday was a quiet night for him. In 19 minutes, he put up just one shot, which was a dunk. Other than that, he was hard to notice.
In a limited role, Drummond did some nice things in Charlotte. He scored six points in 12 minutes and had some big defensive plays in the second half. Overall, he finished with two blocks, one steal, and three rebounds.
Niang took an unusually low amount of shots on Monday. As he averages nearly ten shots per game, it was odd to see the veteran forward get up just four shots on Monday. Fortunately, he drained 50-percent of his attempts and snagged an And-1 to collect seven total points.
The bar of expectations has been extremely low for Korkmaz lately as he's hit a massive slump. At this point, he's starting to climb out of it slightly, but it's definitely been a slow process, and he's still got a long way to go as he missed all four of his three-point attempts on Monday.
The young guard picked up 11 minutes worth of playing time in Charlotte and had one of his best games of the year. As he put up four shots, Joe was nearly perfect as he knocked down three baskets, all from beyond the arc, for a total of nine points off the bench.