Casual play on both ends of the court — careless passing, fruitless isolation attempts and missed assignments on defense — had resulted in a seven-point lead for the visiting Sixers who were looking for their first win of the season.
With the Joel Embiid-less 76ers building on their lead in the second quarter, the Spectrum Center had crowd really quiet thus making head coach Steve Clifford’s commands more audible.
It seems safe to say that Clifford wasn’t all that satisfied with the team’s performance judging by his reaction to this particular offensive rebound by Philly:
Coach Clifford and the team reviewed Philadelphia's sets at halftime and talked about Charlotte’s one-on-one defense, per ESPN’s game recap.
"We just got beat and we gave up a lot of penetration on pick-and-rolls and individual help plays. In the second half, we did a lot better with that," Clifford said to ESPN.
At the risk of sounding like a gabbling talking head, it was noticeable that the Hornets came out with a sense of urgency on defense. Philadelphia started the half with a 24-second shot clock violation and committed seven more turnovers as the period went on.
There was more pressure put on Philly’s ball handlers, the guards that ran pick-and-rolls began to see some blitzes and Hornets’ double-teams forced post-up players to fret about the security of the ball.
The stops on defense, subsequent scores in transition and a 17-point quarter from Nicolas Batum allowed Charlotte to out-score the 76ers 39-20 in the period and take control of the game, which they had themselves let slip out.
The Sixers, after all, were the ones who scored a massive 29 points off turnovers (the Hornets scored 17). Unfortunately for them, they needed more than a good 24 minutes to win this one.
It’s neat to see how involved Roy Hibbert has been despite his absence on the court. The big man frequently gets up on his feet, goes through entire possessions talking and encouraging the guys on the floor and will even argue calls and bother corner 3-point shooters.
I loved the grin Kemba Walker showed after earning an offensive foul for former teammate Gerald Henderson. Even Hendo must have seen the funny side of this possession.
Congratulations to Treveon Graham and his first NBA regular season game! Even though he played only one minute, he did manage to get involved and turn one of his two touches into quite the wise read.
It’s a small detail, but props to him for catching the ball and instantly making the next move which created a great 3-point look for Frank Kaminsky. Here’s to a long future for Graham in the NBA!