The Charlotte Hornets struggled to score and to stop Joel Embiid as they were blown out by the Philadelphia 76ers, 121-82.
Terry Rozier got the scoring started for the Hornets with a corner three. The birthday boy was super aggressive from the outset. He attempted nine shots in the first quarter alone and scored a team high 10 first quarter points. Both teams shot the ball well in an evenly played quarter. The Hornets predictably struggled with Joel Embiid, but they had a lead until Tyrese Maxey banked in a runner from near half court at the buzzer.
The game continued a similar pattern into the second quarter. The Hornets were aggressive and energetic which made up for them not being super clean with their play. They stayed even with the 76ers while Embiid rested (he played the whole first quarter). Embiid’s return to the floor coincided with a big 76ers run. They outscored the Hornets 19-6 in the first five minutes with Embiid back on the floor. The Hornets finally responded with a flurry of traded baskets to set the halftime score at 66-55 in favor of the 76ers. Embiid finished the half with 24 points, six rebounds, and four assists.
Embiid scored a couple of quick buckets and Nick Richards picked up his third and fourth fouls early in the third quarter, which meant extended burn for Kai Jones. The Hornets didn’t score their first points of the second half until a tough floater by Terry Rozier pulled them within 21 just before the eight minute mark. The Hornets offense was almost entirely dependent on Kai Jones, which probably isn’t what you want. But to his credit, he had a nice coast to coast dunk and a couple of jump hooks in the paint. The Hornets mustered just thirteen third quarter points and went into the fourth down by 25.
The 76ers scored the first 13 points of the fourth quarter to completely bury the Hornets. The Hornets didn’t score their first fourth quarter points until the 6:48 mark, and they came from a Svi Mykhailiuk 3-pointer.
The Hornets offense was reminiscent of the college offenses we’re all watching in the NCAA tournament right now. Outside of an aggressive first half from Terry Rozier, the Hornets shot-making was nonexistent. Defensively, they made it look like Joel Embiid was going through practice drills. He met little resistance all night long.
The Hornets will have another two days off before hosting the Pacers on Monday.