The Charlotte Hornets earned their first home win of the season over the Philadelphia 76ers tonight thanks to a strong second half. They came into tonight with plenty of rest between games while the Sixers entered the game on a back to back. Considering that Philly is expected to be one of the bottom teams in the NBA this season, and Charlotte is expected to challenge the playoffs, it made sense that this felt like it should be an easy Hornets win. However, the game did not start off that way.
Despite being on a back to back, the Sixers came into the game with plenty of energy finding success with quick pace, and using their skilled bigs to keep Charlotte off balance defensively. Where Philadelphia found their most success however was on the defensive end of the ball thanks to a Hornets offense that struggled early on.
Nothing seemed to go right for the Hornets in the first half. Open shots weren’t falling, layups couldn’t find the bottom of the net, and they even missed their gimme shots like free throws. Really, the best way to explain how ugly this game got is this clip from Twitter.
This is an NBA game man... pic.twitter.com/uqQmUDgT59— Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) November 3, 2016
Yep, it was not pretty at times, and the Hornets suffered the most from it failing to break 50 points in the first half and entering halftime down seven points. Their lowest point of the game came midway through the second quarter. Spencer Hawes made a basket with 8:50 left in the second quarter, and the Hornets went scoreless until just over three minutes was left in the quarter. The peak of this came when a flurry of missed layups and failed putbacks all failed to fall. It’s moments like this where Charlotte misses having players known for taking the ball and getting themselves a bucket to try and jumpstart the offense.
Luckily for the Hornets, things started to turn around in the second half when the three ball finally began to fall. Everybody knows that the deep shot is the backbone of the Hornets offense, and when their shots from deep start hitting there isn’t much that can slow them down. Especially a tired Sixers team.
For a game that started off looking like it might give Charlotte a scare it ended up being one of their more convincing wins of the season. Once the Hornets took the lead, away from Philadelphia, they never looked back and sprinted their way to a dominant victory. Nicolas Batum was a crucial part of the charge finishing with 20 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. His second half burst of points is what sparked the Hornets to a comfortable lead.
It’s a little concerning that the Hornets continue to not play a complete game offensively. This isn’t the first time this season they’ve had some inconsistencies on offense, and while they have a defense that can hold out until the shots start to fall that might not always work against teams stronger than the Sixers. This is something that will be worth paying attention to as the season continues on.