The two teams played an even first quarter with neither team leading by more than four at any point. Gordon Hayward got off to a nice early start with 10 first quarter points. Kelly Oubre did not carry over his hot shooting from Monday, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. After one, the game was tied at 26. The Sixers briefly looked to have taken a three point lead after a buzzer beater from half court, but the ball was just on the fingertips of Shake Milton as the horn sounded.
The Hornets went cold for a spell in the early parts of the second quarter as the 76ers started to pull away, but they strung together some strong defensive possessions to run right back. They scored 14 straight points as they held the Sixers without a basket for over four minutes. The Hornets took a modest lead, and they went into the half up 53-51.
The Hornets were on the short end of a disjointed third quarter that saw Joel Embiid shoot ten free throws. The Hornets fell behind by as many as nine, but they rallied late to pull back within one. Gordon Hayward went toe to toe with Embiid, scoring 14 points in the third quarter. He helped spur that run that kept the Hornets in the game. After three, the Hornets trailed 82-81.
The Hornets recaptured the lead early in the fourth quarter after a tough Miles Bridges layup on Andre Drummond’s head followed by a Bridges kickout to Cody Martin for three. PJ Washington banked in a 3-pointer from straight on a few possessions later, which would imply that the basketball gods were on the Hornets side on this night. However, the 76ers answered with eight straight points to take a commanding seven point lead with just under two minutes to go. The Hornets uphill battle was made even steeper when PJ Washington stripped a driving Joel Embiid. The ball clearly bounced on Embiid, but the officials inexplicably called a jump ball and reset the shot clock to 24 seconds for the Sixers.
The Hornets didn’t give up though. Washington splashed a triple to pull within five, then Cody Martin stripped Tyrese Maxey, which led to a Kelly Oubre dunk to make it a one possession game with 30 seconds to play. Miles Bridges got called for a rather ticky tack foul on the inbound, and the ensuing Tobias Harris free throws all but iced the game.
The Hornets got the vast majority of their scoring from Hayward, Bridges, and Oubre, with the trio combining to score 83 of the Hornets 106 points.
This was one of the better defensive performances we’ve seen from the Hornets lately, but they couldn’t get enough breaks or buckets down the stretch to make the most of it.
The Hornets will try to get back in the win column on Friday against the Kings