Philadelphia 76ers Look to Punish Hornets in 3rd Matchup of Season

Philadelphia 76ers
Oct 28, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) celebrates after a victory against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After two days off since their thrilling victory over the Pacers, The Philadelphia 76ers return to action for a matchup against the Hornets.

Both the Sixers (15-6) and the Hornets (10-11) are currently riding 3 game winning streaks. They are ranked 1st and 8th in the Eastern Conference, respectively. The Sixers are considered 7 point favorites by Vegas lines, and the game will tip-off at 7 pm in Charlotte.

Injuries

Philadelphia 76ers

The most notable part of the injury report is that Joel Embiid is not on it. The MVP candidate was a full participant in practice yesterday, and Doc Rivers spoke highly about how he looked. Expect him to be a full go with no limitations in the matchup tonight.

In negative news, Mike Scott recently suffered a setback with his knee injury. Scott has not played since January 14th and does not seem to be in line for a return in the near future. As Rivers put it, “(Mike) was working out yesterday, got tangled up with someone, tweaked his knee again.”

The injury does not seem to be a significant long-term issue, but it will continue to hold Scott and the needed power forward depth he provides out of the lineup. Terrance Ferguson is also listed as out due to Covid-19 protocols.

Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets will likely be without starting power forward PJ Washington, who sprained his foot in the team’s last matchup. Washington has had a productive year so far this season as he is averaging 12.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 1 steal per game.

The 22-year-old has established himself as part of the young core of the Hornets, and while he is listed as day-to-day, the recent news out of the Hornets makes it unlikely he will suit up in this one. Terry Rozier is also listed as day-to-day with a right ankle injury, but he appears likely to play.

Previous Matchups

The Sixers and Hornets have already played twice this season, with both meetings resulting in dominant wins for Philadelphia. In the first matchup, the Sixers shot the ball extremely well and won by a score of 127-112.

The team was led in scoring by Tobias Harris, who poured in 24 points. Seth Curry also had 21 and knocked down three big shots from beyond the arc.

The second matchup occurred just two days later, with the Hornets unable to make enough adjustments to change the outcome. The final score was 118-101, and the Sixers penciled in a record of 6-1 on the season.

Joel Embiid produced 14 points and 11 rebounds with relative ease before having a chance to rest for a good portion of the game. Doc Rivers was able to get in several bench players who don’t usually get time, such as Paul Reed, Vincent Poirier, and Terrance Ferguson.

Philadelphia 76ers’ Keys to the game

Given the success against the Hornets already this season, the gameplan should not change much. Expect the ball to fall into the hands of Joel Embiid early and often.

With 6’8 Bismack Biyombo serving as the primary defender on Joel, the Hornets will likely be forced to double down on the big man. If this is the case, it will be time to find the open shooter, and if the Hornets choose not to double up, Embiid should take Biyombo in the post just about every possession.

The Hornets have become a much better team since the matchups against the Sixers early in the season. Gordon Hayward has found his stride with his scoring numbers climbing to 23 points per game. Malik Monk is also coming off a 36 point performance in the Hornets’ last game and continues to have an unconscious trigger.

DeVonte Graham and LaMelo Ball are both dynamic backcourt players who are learning to manage the pace of the game in a very effective way. The Sixers are the all-around better team and should be expected to produce another win, but they must come out and play their game right from tip-off to ensure this.

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