When: November 10, 6:00PM EST
Where: Wells Fargo Center; Philadelphia, PA
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
After last night’s disappointing-yet-unsurprising second-half collapse to the Pelicans, the Hornets jumped on the team plane and flew to Philadelphia for a 6:00PM matchup with the 76ers. I’d just like to give a quick shoutout to the NBA scheduling committee for putting us in the early slot, allowing us to go to bed at the very reasonable hour of 8:45PM. I’m washed.
The Hornets face yet another team that is expected to compete in the playoffs this season. They’ve already lost to the Lakers, Clippers, and Boston, and I’m truly sorry if I’m bursting your bubble here; they’ll probably lose this one too. Not only is Philadelphia is pretty good, their strengths match up perfectly with Charlotte’s weaknesses. Joel Embiid, Al Horford, and Tobias Harris should all eat tonight. Cody Zeller has been serviceable (at best) as an interior defender this year, and we all know what Embiid does to “serviceable (at best)” defenders. Not to put it all on Cody’s shoulders either, it’s just become abundantly clear that the Hornets don’t have a capable backup big man. Bismack Biyombo has done well in stretches, but he’s more of a hit-or-miss risk-taking defender than a reliable anchor in the paint.
Philadelphia is eighth in the league in pace of play (104.44 possessions per game), and I expect them to up the ante a bit against the Hornets due to their penchant for turnovers. The Sixers are also sixth in the NBA in defensive rating (101.9), another stat that does not bode well for the Hornets, whose offense has been steadily falling off since they began the year leading the league in 3PT%.
Coach Borrego, if you are reading this, I have a gameplan for tonight: make Ben Simmons shoot jump shots. He is not good at them. 0-17 from beyond the arc in his career. Some even say he is too cowardly to shoot a three. I don’t want to say that I agree, but I don't disagree.
This is my Cody Martin Appreciation Paragraph. He’s been all over the floor in his limited minutes this season, but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t see a spike inn his playing time sooner or later. His defensive intensity and hustle are unmatched by anyone else in a Hornets uniform, and he’s athletic enough to make plays in transition offense. I might get some people at my door with pitchforks and torches for this #take but here we go; Martin should be getting some of Malik Monk’s minutes off the bench. The Hornets have plenty of shot-takers that are better/more efficient/just as (in)efficient as Monk, but they do not have a guy that dives for loose balls and is willing to spill blood to get extra possessions. Martin is that guy. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on Simmons, Harris, or Josh Richardson at times tonight.
To keep the focus on the task at hand; as long as the Hornets go out and execute to a respectable degree and play with some passion, the result is neither here nor there. The 4-3 start may have been the peak for this year. Now, all we can ask for is fun and improvement.