Sixers vs. Hornets: How to watch, betting preview, and predictions

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Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, center, looks to pass against Charlotte Hornets center Nick Richards (4) and guard Terry Rozier during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

The Philadelphia 76ers are in Charlotte on Saturday night to take on the Charlotte Hornets after a win on Friday night over the Magic in Orlando, 124-109. The Hornets ended their six-game losing streak on Friday night by beating the San Antonio Spurs in Charlotte, 124-120.

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Sixers game info

Who: Philadelphia 76ers (27-13) at Charlotte Hornets (9-30)

When: 7:00 pm EST

Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC

Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBA League Pass, Bally Sports Southeast

Sixers vs. Hornets betting info

Spread: Sixers -11 | Hornets +11
Moneyline: Sixers -600 | Hornets +440
Total: Over/Under 229

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The Latest on the Sixers

After a disheartening loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Jan. 10, the Sixers have won four straight games, the last three with center Joel Embiid back in the lineup. When Embiid is on the court, the Sixers are one of the most formidable teams in the league. When he’s out of the lineup, the team is 3-7, but with Embiid, they’re 24-6, and that disparity just shows how important a healthy Embiid is to the Sixers lineup.

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) shoots in front of Orlando Magic center Goga Bitadze (35) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 19, 2024, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

For the season, Embiid is averaging 35.1 points (tops in the league), 11.4 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game to go along with 1.9 blocks. It’s safe to say that Embiid is having the best season of his career and seems to be getting better each time he’s on the court. The only concern for Embiid is his health, as he’s missed ten games already this season with ankle and knee issues. If the Sixers are going to do anything in the playoffs this season, they’re going to need Embiid healthy when they start.

Guard Tyrese Maxey has started to find his range again over the past four games, shooting 48.6 percent on his three-point attempts. He’s shooting 38.6 percent on the season, which is below his career average of 40.5 percent and well below last year’s mark of 43.4 percent, which was a career-high. What Maxey has done is show a willingness to continue to pull the trigger from deep, even if the initial attempts don’t drop.

Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey (0) is defended by Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs (4) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 19, 2024, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

As he did last year, it seems that Maxey is starting to get hot from deep and should see his parentage climb back above his career average. He’s truly become the second star that the Sixers had been looking for in players like Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, and James Harden.

The Sixers, in the win over the Magic, had a commanding lead, which meant some time for the young players, even if it was garbage time at the end of the tame. Terquavion Smith, the promising 21 year old from North Carolina State who’s been lighting up the G-League, saw his first NBA minutes.

Even though it was only two minutes, Smith was able to sink both of his three-point attempts for 6 points on the night, the first points of his NBA career. The bench was going nuts for the young player who’s been shooting 40.8% on his three-point attempts in the G-League.

Latest on the Hornets

The Hornets are coming into the game having won against the Spurs on Friday night, which isn’t saying much as San Antonio is one of only three teams in the league with a record worse than the Hornets. The Hornets had higher expectations coming into the season, and they’ve not played out as they’ve expected.

Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball shoots around San Antonio Spurs guard Tre Jones during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Lamelo Ball has been back for the past four games after missing more than a month and a half with an ankle injury, and even his return hasn’t changed the fortunes of the team. Ball had 28 points and 8 assists in the win over the Spurs and has averaged 26.5 points per game in the four games he’s played. It just hasn’t been enough, as the team is constantly being outplayed.

With Ball back and playing like he hasn’t missed a game, the Hornets also boast two more players averaging over 20 points a game with Miles Bridges at 20.5 and Terry Rozier at 23.8 points per game between the two of them. It just hasn’t been enough. The Hornets aren’t deep enough, and they’ve been beset by injuries throughout the season.

Gordon Hayward, Brandon Miller, PJ Washington, and Mark Williams are all averaging double digits in scoring for the team. They just haven’t been able to put together any sort of momentum to get them heading in the right direction. Hayward has had his name bounced around in trade rumors and, most recently, as a name for the buyout market.

It would seem that the Hornets would be wise to look at moves that don’t involve Ball or Brandon Miller. you might be able to include Mark Williams in that conversation as well, but they may be best served listening to any offers that could make the team better in the long run.

What to watch for against the Hornets

This game, for the Sixers, is looking like it’s going to be another of what’s become the usual, especially against lower teams in the league. Joel Embiid will have a large number of highlights to go along with his 30+ points, while Tyrese Maxey will get close to the 30-point mark. Hopefully, Tobias Harris gets off the roller coaster he’s been on for the past few games and can put up a good number of points for the team.

Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (12) celebrates his 3-pointer as Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero (5) reacts during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

In games against these lower-ranked opponents, the Sixers seem to use it more as practice than anything else. There’s a good number of plays where they’re moving the ball, they run sets for Maxey and Embiid, and use different looks to attack teams. Hopefully, as their schedule gets tougher in the later parts of the season, the Sixers have had enough time developing together that the play translates against the better teams in the league.

You can see it has worked, as they’ve already defeated the defending Champion Denver Nuggets as well as the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Timberwolves. The Sixers have shown that they can compete and win against some of the better teams in the league.

What you should be watching for tonight, besides the obvious highlights from the league’s top-scoring duo, is the play of younger guys like Terquavion Smith, KJ Martin, and Ricky Council IV, who could see extended minutes tonight if the Sixers can get up by the end of the third quarter. It’s always exciting for the players and team but also the fans who get to see players that represent the future of the franchise while helping the current team. It can only help the Sixers to have depth and talent as the team heads toward the playoffs.


Sixers 131 – Hornets 107