After a successful 90s night at home, the Charlotte Hornets hit the road for a quick game before their upcoming homestand. In Wednesday's sandwiched road contest against the Philadelphia 76ers, Charlotte continued their winning ways, flying home with a 119-99 victory.
Two of the more polarizing players in Wednesday's game were limited, with one completely sitting out. Charlotte's Al Jefferson would have his minutes reduced since it was his first back-to-back after returning from injury. Philadelphia's Jahlil Okafor was ruled out with a shin injury, robbing us of a somewhat anticipated matchup between two big men with similar styles.
Sloppy offensive play plagued the Hornets early on and allowed the 76ers to get out to a 7-1 lead.
Marvin Williams knocked down a 3-pointer as Kemba Walker followed with a jumper and a trey of his own to put Charlotte up for the first time Wednesday night.
It was a fast-paced first quarter that left offenses with the advantage in the opening minutes. Off the bench, Jeremy Lin took what the defense gave him and scored eight points in the first period, pacing Charlotte's offense to a three-point lead as the first transition hit.
Wednesday's 32-point first quarter marked the fifth quarter in a row that Charlotte put up 28+ points in a single period.
However, the first quarter was close. The number of worried fans surely grew during the second period as the lowly 76ers were able to keep the game close.
The quarter was highlighted by two plays from the team's young big men. Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky both threw it down on aggressive takes to the basket. Williams continued to show his importance as well and the Hornets took a 58-50 lead into halftime.
Charlotte was taking what the defense gave them and succeeding, that didn't change out of the break as the Hornets began the second half on a 6-0 run. It ballooned their lead to 14 — their biggest of the night up to that point. It didn't hold, though, as Philadelphia went on a 17-3 run to tie the game at 67-all midway through the third quarter.
Philly was able to stay in the game due to hot 3-point shooting. As the 76ers tied the game, they had hit nine more threes than the Hornets were able to convert.
That changed as Charlotte broke the game open. Newly acquired wing Courtney Lee swished his biggest shots in a Hornets uniform to date. Kemba Walker started a run with a three-pointer and powered his team to a nine-point lead entering the fourth quarter.
Defense seemed optional for a large portion of the night but Steve Clifford's bunch got it together in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia turned the ball over in the final period and the Hornets turned defense into offense. The 3-point shot continued to fall as Charlotte broke the game wide open.
Some of their youngest prospects, Frank Kaminsky, Troy Daniels and Aaron Harrison, connected on 3-pointers too, as did veteran Nicolas Batum. The late barrage sealed the game and gave Charlotte their eighth win in their last ten games.
The Hornets will be their next seven games inside The Hive, all against beatable teams, as they currently sit in the Eastern Conference's sixth seed.