The Charlotte Hornets dropped their second straight game to the Philadelphia 76ers, 118-101.
The Hornets came out with a lot more energy than they did in their last meeting with the 76ers. That was good for the defense, as they did a much better job closing out to shooters and forcing tough looks. That same success didn’t come on the offensive end, where the Hornets missed their first eight shots before Terry Rozier found Bismack Biyombo with a nice wrap around pass leading for a dunk. The Hornets called timeout halfway through the quarter with the score a whooping 10-4. LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges entered the game and quickly provided a jolt with their energy and a highlight, as they are wont to do.
The Hornets found some offensive flow with Ball pulling the strings and even got a much needed three from Devonte’ Graham. After one, the Hornets trailed by three.
The Hornets got hot from the arc to start the second quarter, hitting their first four attempts from outside. PJ Washington hit a pair of those playing as the small ball five. An 8-0 Sixers run was sandwiched between two Hornets timeouts and undid the lead the Hornets had built for themselves. It was the start of a 27-7 run by the 76ers from 6:30 left until the end of the half. During that time, the Hornets did everything poorly. They gave up some silly fouls and let up on the intensity on the defensive end. Offensively, they committed some sloppy turnovers and struggled to get good looks. The struggles were encapsulated on a play that came with just over a minute left in the half. Bismack Biyombo flashed open on the baseline. Gordon Hayward threw a perfect pass to him, but it slipped right through Biz’s hands and went out of bounds for a turnover. The quarter ended with a Danny Green 3-pointer as the Hornets lackadaisically retreated back on defense, almost as if they expected the Sixers not to attempt a shot. Green easily dribbled into an open pull-up, which he hit, to set the halftime margin at 58-43.
The Hornets looked much more like an NBA team coming out of the halftime break. Devonte’ Graham hit a couple of 3-pointers and the Hornets did an okay job defensively. Their play picked up even further when LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges checked into the game once again. Ball made a couple brilliant passes in transition to lead to Hornets buckets and later found Graham in the corner for three to briefly cut the deficit into single figures. Briefly being the operative word. The Hornets only points for the final 3:18 of the quarter came from a pair of Washington free throws. The Sixers scored nine points in the meantime and held a 16 point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Hornets had an opportunity to start the fourth quarter on the right foot, but Washington missed the dunk. We also got our first minutes from Malik Monk on the young season, and he opened his season with a forced 3-pointer and a turnover at midcourt with his first two touches. But it’s not like the rest of the other Hornets were any better. They let the 76ers convert easy buckets on the offensive end as the game quickly got out of hand. The Hornets trailed by 26 at the halfway mark of the fourth quarter, which prompted a Borrego timeout to empty the benches.
The Hornets played well for extended stretches of the game, but for whatever reason, they would let their guard down and undo all the good they did during those minutes. The offense would become passive and sloppy. The defense would become soft and slow. The 76ers are good, and they ran away with the game during those periods of time.
The Hornets will have a chance to right the ship against a Hawks team that’s been pretty good so far this season.