Show of hands: Who actually watched the game tonight, and who thought their time would be better spent watching Pharrell act like he's so "happy" to coach some American Idol discards on The Voice?
Lucky for (hopefully) only the few people who did the latter, we have you covered.
I think people would be lying if they denied they thought this game would be one where the Hornets' starters, specifically Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum, would get some much needed rest. The Hornets probably thought they could waltz into the Wells Fargo Center, play with a hand tied behind their back, and have the game so in-hand that the starters wouldn't need to sniff the floor in the fourth quarter.
And in all honesty, why would they have any reason not to think that? The Hornets are a playoff team on the fringe of first round home court advantage, and the 76ers are... well... the 76ers. To top it off, Philadelphia wasn't even at full force; they were without Richaun Holmes, Jerami Grant, Nerlens Noel, and of course Jahlil Okafor.
The game really never got to a point where one might think the 76ers were going to win, but the 76ers kept it close enough for Coach Clifford to feel uncomfortable resting Kemba and Batum the entire fourth quarter.
But the Hornets won. This should be about the good, right? Right.
This game was all about Nicholas Batum and Cody Zeller. Both played outstanding for Charlotte tonight. The duo got things going right from the start.
Cody Zeller finished the game with a double-double, his fifth on the season. Zeller was a near-perfect seven for eight from the floor as he scored 18 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Why did Zeller play so well tonight you ask? Well it's simple, really. The tallest players on the 76ers tonight were the trio of six foot nine inchers Carl Landry, Robert Covington, and Elton Brand. (Yes I know Christian Wood is six foot 11, but he only played seven minutes so zip it.)
This should be a nice confidence boost for Zeller as the Hornets near the playoffs.
I'll keep the Batum worship to a minimum, as it's been all over At The Hive recently, but damn. His 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists is a heck of a stat line, even if it is against Philadelphia's D-League team. This was Batum's (and the Hornets') second triple-double of the season.
There is a lot to be excited about in the Queen City. The Hornets could have a playoff berth locked up by the end of the week. Up next is a rematch with the same 76ers in Charlotte on Friday.