The Hornets came to play out of the gate. They started Cody Martin at point to replace the now absent Ish Smith. Nick Richards nearly matched his career high for points in a game with six early points while Kelly Oubre scored 12 minutes while playing the full first quarter. But the real fun began in the final two minutes of the quarter. JT Thor opened up his NBA scoring with one of the best first buckets you’ll ever see.
On the next possession, James Bouknight chased down two offensive rebounds on one possession to lead to a JT Thor three. It was part of four straight 3-point possessions as the Hornets closed the first quarter with a 34-23 lead.
James Bouknight scored his first career field goal with what will probably become one of his patented funky wrong-foot finishes.
The Sixers made their first nine shots of the second quarter to wipe away the deficit and take the lead. They stayed hot for most of the quarter while the Hornets offense understandably lacked a spark. The 76ers completely flipped the score and turned their double digit deficit into a double digit lead. The Hornets finished the half with a bang though. Miles Bridges knocked down a corner three with less than three seconds left, then Kelly Oubre stole the ensuing inbound pass and dribbled into a buzzer beating 3-pointer. At the half, the Hornets trailed 67-62.
Nick Richards threw in some early baskets in the second half to help him cross into double figures for the first time in his career. The third quarter was just kinda regular basketball. No big runs. No spectacular plays. The Hornets did get a couple of tough 3-pointers from PJ Washington over Joel Embiid and Kelly Oubre stayed hot. A Gordon Hayward layup bounced in at the buzzer to set the score at 95-93 in favor of the 76ers heading into the fourth quarter.
The 76ers went on a little run with Joel Embiid on the bench, but that was slowed down by James Bouknight’s first career 3-pointer. The Hornets rallied to take the lead on a Cody Martin coast to coast layup that came on the heels of this dunk from Bouknight.
The Hornets gradually worked their way within reach of the Sixers. Miles Bridges beat Danny Green on a couple of isolation possessions to tie the game up. Gordon Hayward camped out behind Embiid, who the Sixers had been force feeding in the post, and stole the entry pass and found Oubre on the break for a 3-pointer to put the Hornets up three with a minute to play. Joel Embiid evened the game up across the next couple of possessions, and both teams missed their chance to win it in regulation.
Embiid continued his dominance with the first two baskets of overtime. But Oubre kept the Hornets in it with a couple of baskets of his own. The Hornets eventually ran out of gas and couldn’t find the game tying bucket as the game slipped away.
Three Hornets scored career highs in points—Richards (12), Bouknight (11), and Thor (8). The Hornets continue to get contributions from all over the roster while they deal with covid-related absences.
They’ll have a day to rest up before facing these very same 76ers again on Wednesday.