When: 7:00 PM EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, N.C.
How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Outfitting: Hornets — Icon (teal); 76ers — Association (white)
CHA: LaMelo Ball (left ankle sprain), OUT; Cody Martin (right knee surgery), OUT.
PHI: Joel Embiid (left midfoot sprain), OUT; James Harden (foot), OUT; Tyrese Maxey (left foot fracture), OUT; Jaden Springer (quad), OUT; Matisse Thybulle (ankle), QUESTIONABLE.
The Charlotte Hornets host a hobbled Philadelphia 76ers team to begin a stretch in which they will play eight of 11 games at The Hive.
Typically, the Sixers are a tough matchup for the Hornets, but a recent bout of injuries has depleted their roster ahead of tonight’s game. James Harden has been out since Nov. 2, Joel Embiid suffered a foot sprain late in a loss to Minnesota last Saturday, and Tyrese Maxey will be out at least two weeks after fracturing his left foot. On top of that, Tobias Harris and Furkan Korkmaz just came off the injury report yesterday.
Charlotte is catching the Sixers on the second night of a back-to-back after they won the front end over Brooklyn, 115-106, behind 24 points from Tobias Harris, 22 from De’Anthony Melton and a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double from Paul Reed. On the season, Philly has an average offense and a top-seven defense. That’s bound to change with each of their three best players injured, but the Sixers still have some rangy wings and forwards that can be disruptive defensively and help the team maintain a strong presence on that end.
A Hornets-Sixers game without Ball, Embiid, Harden and Maxey lacks luster, but it could serve as an opportunity for Charlotte to get back on track. Losers of three straight, the Hornets match up favorably with the Sixers main rotation and won’t have to deal with the imposing size and physicality of Embiid that always gives them (and the rest of the NBA) trouble. Former Hornet Montrezl Harrell will start in his place, though he played just 16 minutes last night (6 PTS, 2-8 FG) and wasn’t a featured member of the rotation prior to Embiid going down.
Rarely have we gotten to say this in the last few years, but Charlotte is more than capable of beating Philadelphia tonight, especially given how closely they’ve played solid teams in recent losses. The losing streak is ending tonight. Positive vibes only.