When: 7:00 p.m. EDT
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Hornets have played the 76ers three times this season and lost all three games by a total of six points. The last two of those games went into overtime. Given that information alone, you’d think these teams were pretty evenly matched. Well guess what buddy, you’d be wrong.
The 76ers are legitimate contenders. They’ve kissed The Process goodbye and gone all in on the present. Their starting five of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, and J.J. Redick is one of the best starting lineups in the league, and it’s almost certainly the hardest to match up with. Do you put your point guard on Redick and subject him to all sorts of off ball movement and screens, or do you stick him on one of the wings, all of whom are adept at burying mismatches in the post? I don’t know the answer to that. Maybe the Hornets will zone up and force the 76ers to hit jumpers, but the 76ers are eighth in the league in 3-point percentage, so that probably won’t work either.
There is a glimmer of hope (if you’re rooting for the Hornets to win). Joel Embiid won’t play tonight because of something called ‘rest.’ With the 76ers hosting the Celtics tomorrow, it’s not surprising that the team would elect to rest their best player against an inferior opponent. They have bigger fish to fry.
The Hornets are without their starting center as well. Cody Zeller still has a sore knee, and it’s fair to wonder if we’ll see him again before season’s end. Tony Parker is also out as he deals with old age, so the Hornets are pretty short handed in their own right.
The sun is setting on the Hornets season, and this brief stretch of home games is their only semi-realistic glimmer of hope.