For the second consecutive game, the Sixers faced off against a struggling opponent at the Wells Fargo Center. For the second consecutive game, it wasn't even competitive.
Four days after ending the Boston Celtics four game road losing streak, losing by a score of 105-87 that was kinder than the play on the court indicated, the Sixers were once again able to provide a remedy for a struggling opponent. The Charlotte Hornets, who entered the game 6-19 on the season and 1-10 on the road, pounded the struggling Sixers for a 109-91 victory. The last time the Sixers had the lead in the game was 15-13 halfway through the first quarter. They trailed by 11 at the end of the quarter.
The Hornets, who have the 26th ranked offense in the league, put up 109 points on their way to a 105.3 offensive rating. 109 points is the most they have scored in a regulation game this season.
Turnovers, offensive rebounds, and pick and roll defense against Kemba Walker were the primary culprits for the Sixers Friday night.
The Hornets collected 17 offensive rebounds in only 55 missed field goal attempts, good for a 34% defensive rebounding rate. The Hornets average an offensive rebounding rate of only 21.2% on the season, which is 27th in the league. The Sixers, on the other hand, collected only 2 offensive rebounds in 39 missed field goal attempts, a 6.7% offensive rebounding rate.
If that disparity weren't enough, the Sixers, who turn the ball over more than anyone in the league at a 17.1% turnover rate, turned the ball over 24 times, 10 more than the Hornets. The Hornets scored 34 points off the Sixers turnovers to only 8 points the Sixers scored off of Hornets miscues.
In the end, the Hornets had 98 field goal attempts to the Sixers 71, which is certainly not a recipe for success.
With Michael Carter-Williams (21.8% turnover rate) and Tony Wroten (19.8%), the Sixers turnover problems can frequently be attributed to their two primary ball handlers. That wasn't necessarily the case last night. Sure, Carter-Williams (4 turnovers) and Wroten (3 turnovers) had their share of mishaps, but the this was an all-around team effort. Robert Covington and K.J. McDaniels each contributed 4 turnovers apiece, with JaKarr Sampson and Henry Sims adding 3 each as well.
"That's a really, really big number. 34 points, against a team that really isn't statistically known for turning people over, for us it became rampant," Brett Brown said about the Hornets points off turnovers. "It ends up being a problem with our young team."
When the Sixers weren't turning the ball over they did have some offensive success. Robert Covington and Tony Wroten led the way with 19 points each, each doing major damage from deep, with Covington shooting 6-8 from three point range and Wroten shooting 4-6. They pair combined to make only 1 two point field goal attempt, although Wroten did shoot 5-6 from the free throw line.
For the game, the Sixers shot 46.2% (12-26) from three point range and 88.2% (15-17) from the free throw line. They average 30.5% and 67.7% on the season, both last in the league.
The Sixers might have had a chance to overcome their ineptitude taking care of the ball and on the defensive glass if it weren't for their complete inability to defend Hornets point guard Kemba Walker, particularly off the pick and roll. Walker scored a season-high 30 points on the night, shooting 13-23 from the field and 3-4 from three point range. He is shooting only 39.3% from the field and 32.7% from three on the season.
"Kemba was great," Brown said after the game. "We really didn't have many answers for him."
"It's hard. He is good off the pick and rolls, and our pick and roll defense isn't very good," Michael Carter-Williams said after the game. "We struggled and he hit shots. His team played well."
Alexey Shved Traded
Right before the start of the game, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Sixers had gotten involved in the Corey Brewer-to-Houston trade between the Rockets and Timberwolves. The Sixers confirmed their involvement, and will get Ronny Turiaf, the rights to 32 year old Sergei Lishouk, and Houston's 2015 second round pick in exchange for Shved.
A source confirmed with LibertyBallers that the Sixers will waive Turiaf, who is out for the season after having arthroscopic hip surgery earlier in the week.
The move will leave the Sixers roster at 14. A source said that signing Malcolm Thomas, who the Sixers waived in early November after Thomas had found he had loose cartilage in his knee, is a possibility, assuming his health checks out.
Lishouk is a 6'11" center playing for Valencia in the ACB in Spain. He is averaging 12.2 minutes per game in Euroleague play, scoring 3 points while grabbing 2.5 rebounds per game.
Odds and Ends
- While Robert Covington had another excellent shooting night, only grabbing 2 rebounds while turning the ball over 4 times left something to be desired. Covington is now averaging 18.5 points on 45.1% shooting from the field, 46.7% from three point range (on 7.5 attempts per game) over his last 8. The Sixers have a 96.2 Offensive Rating over that time period when he's been on the court, and only a -1.6 Net Rating.
- Hollis Thompson continues to struggle from the floor, shooting 1-7 from the field and 0-4 from three point range. The team had an 82 Offensive Rating in his 23 minutes on the court last night. Thompson continues to be very inconsistent. After scoring 21 points on 7-8 shooting (5-5 from 3), Thompson has made only 2 field goal attempts in his last two games, no three pointers.
- It was nice to see Wroten, who went 4-6 from three, hit some shots from deep. After starting the season 8-19 from three in his first 5 games, Wroten had shot only 12-54 (22.2%) over his next 13 games before last night's outburst, including 3 for his last 20. His 19 points in 24 minutes came a game after he had gone scoreless (0-3 from the field) in nearly 30 minutes against Boston.
- MCW had another inefficient night, needing 17 field goal attempts to score his 14 points, while turning the ball over 4 times. Carter-Williams and Hollis Thompson were the only Sixers regulars to shoot under 40% in the game.
- For all the grief he gets at times, Luc Mbah a Moute had a strong defensive night against Al Jefferson, holding his ground defending the post despite giving up nearly 60 pounds (listed) on the talented post scorer. Jefferson shot only 9-23 from the field for his 20 points, only getting to the line twice.
- Nerlens Noel wasn't all that involved offensively, shooting only 3-7 for his 6 points, while adding in 2 turnovers. He did contribute 8 defensive rebounds (in 10 defensive rebounding chances), 3 blocks, 3 steals, and 3 assists. He was challenged 9 times at the rim, with the Hornets making 4 of them.
- Henry Sims had only 1 defensive rebound in 13 minutes off the bench, good for a 7.7% defensive rebounding percentage. Sims hasn't grabbed more than 5 rebounds since December 3rd's win over Minnesota.
- The Sixers fell to 0-14 at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers will play their next 7 on the road, starting in Orlando on Sunday. They will then play Miami on Tuesday before heading out for a brutal west coast swing that includes Portland, Utah, Golden State, Phoenix, and the Clippers. Those 5 teams have a combined 82-50 record, including 41-22 at home. They don't return to the Wells Fargo Center until January 5th against the Cavaliers.
Post game video