Leading by as many as 14 points, the Hornets offense sputtered, scoring only 19 points in the fourth quarter as they dropped their second consecutive game.
Kemba Walker had yet another dazzling performance with 31 points and five assists, while Nicolas Batum flirted with a triple double, posting a 14-point, 13-rebound, 8-assist night. However, the other three Charlotte starters combined to just score 17 points. Marvin Williams, Dwight Howard and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist each battled foul trouble Friday night, as all three finished the night with five fouls. When three-fifths of the starting lineup has a near 1:1 point to foul ratio, something’s gone wrong.
The Sixers got a little bit of help from just about every player that took the court. Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Robert Covington and JJ Redick each scored at least 15 points, and Dario Saric was right behind them with nine points. Embiid was particularly a man’s man, man with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Ersan Ilyasova, who was bought out by Atlanta earlier in the week, returned to Philadelphia and re-debuted with 18 points off the bench.
Charlotte got off to a hot start in the Wells Fargo Center and went into halftime up 56-48. The Hornets were shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor and made seven of 11 3-pointers for an eye-popping, albeit unsustainable, 63 percent from deep. Walker, Batum and Frank Kaminsky, who scored 19 points off the bench, each hit 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. That number would crash back down to Earth in the second half, as Charlotte made only 30 percent of their threes in quarters three and four.
In that ill-fated fourth quarter, Charlotte made just five shots. Had it not been for seven made free trhows, the final score winds up even more lopsided in Philadelphia’s favor. Walker did his best to keep the Hornets in it with eight points scored in the fourth, but none of his teammates answered the call. Jeremy Lamb was the second leading scorer for Charlotte in the fourth quarter with three points. The other four players who scored (MKG, Dwight, Kaminsky and Willy Hernangomez) each scored two.
The Hornets have Saturday off and return to the court Sunday afternoon in Toronto.