The Charlotte Hornets are coming off one of their most impressive wins of the season after knocking off the reigning Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat in overtime on the road and extending their win streak to three games. Charlotte looks to continue that win streak tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers who currently boast the best record in the Eastern Conference, have won six of their last seven games, and currently are on a three-game win streak of their own.
Charlotte will have their hands full tonight with the Eastern Conference player of the month and MVP candidate favorite Joel Embiid coming to town. Embiid is averaging 28 ppg on an efficient 54% shooting from the field. Embiid has taken his game to a new level this season, he has become the driving force for the 76ers offense and mitigating his impact in tonight’s game will almost certainly be the difference maker for Charlotte pulling off the upset.
Keys To The Game
Make Embiid Work
It’s so easy for me to sit here and type “Stop Joel Embiid” but let’s be realistic, that task is better said than done. Joel Embiid is a handful and if he isn’t dominating in the post, he’s hanging around the perimeter knocking down three-pointers, where he’s shooting a career high 40% this season or he is at the free throw line where he routinely remains for majority of the game.
There is no way of stopping Joel Embiid but what you can do is make him work for every single thing, throw bodies at him when he post-up, get into his air space, and force him to make the right play. Attack Embiid on defense and keep him running, do not allow Embiid to rest on defense when he is carrying most of the offensive load for the 76ers. Use Embiid’s lacking stamina against him and mitigate his impact in this game.
It feels like Charlotte offense has kicked it into a new gear these past couple of games scoring over 125 points in back to back games. It’s a small sample size but the Charlotte offense has been much more aggressive in these last couple of games. In the games where the Hornets offense has struggled you see them waiting for the game to come to them, hunting for the perfect shot. But this is the NBA most shot attempts or looks are not going to be a clean one.
The Hornets have played with much more authority on offense especially from the perimeter where they have converted 42 three-pointers over the past two games. Can they continue this hot shooting streak from deep is yet to be seen but as of now the offense is playing at a very high level. They’re going to need that explosion of offense tonight to keep pace as the 76ers are sitting at 9th in the league in points per game.
Philadelphia is one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA, they currently rank as the #2 team in the league in total rebound per game. Winning the rebounding battle has to be an emphasis for Charlotte tonight if they want to have some control over this game. Embiid has taken over games on the boards, demoralizing teams by cashing in on 2nd chance opportunities. Tonights game has to be a team effort rebounding for Charlotte to walk away with the win.