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Quickcap: 76ers 89, Hornets 81


John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Hornets dropped a really, really disappointing game to the Philadelphia 76ers, 89-81, after suffering multiple stretches without being able to hit a goshdang jump shot. Charlotte finished with a .345 shooting percentage thanks to, well, basically the entire backcourt, and just looked either completely out of sync or downright sloppy (and occasionally both) during the entire second half.

The Hornets were only up by one at the end of the first quarter, although they had been outplaying their opponents. Over the last few minutes of the quarter, the bench unit struggled to hit their shots, a consequence of having Al Jefferson sitting on the bench. Cody Zeller picked up two fouls in five minutes of play, which forced him to sit for a while, and that helped the 76ers shoot their way back into the game (though, since it was only the first quarter, it wasn’t all that big of a deficit).

The Hornets extended their lead into the double digits on multiple occasions in the second quarter, before squandering that lead a bit as the game approached halftime. Despite the scoreboard, though, it appeared that they were in control of this game, leading the 76ers in just about every meaningful statistic. Marvin Williams got some extra first-half minutes while Zeller was sitting with foul trouble, and played possibly the best half of basketball we’ve seen from him all season. Especially given that Williams and Jefferson don’t always coexist productively when on the court together, it was big to see Williams step up on both ends of the ball.

We learned during the third quarter that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s injury would keep him out for the rest of the game, which couldn’t have come at a worse time, as Philadelphia got off a quick run that eventually turned into the first 76ers lead of the game. Unfortunately, things only got worse from there, and the Hornets were lucky that the Sixers were only up by single digits at the end of the quarter. It was an ugly quarter of basketball.

The Hornets were able to focus their efforts a little more in the fourth quarter, but their upset bit never really fooled anybody, as they were unable to make shots, or prevent the 76ers from doing just that, when they most needed a positive result. For a team missing their best two defensive players, this loss is understandable, but the Hornets never helped themselves with their own play.