Sixers Bell Ringer regular season standings:
Joel Embiid: 13
Tyrese Maxey: 9
Seth Curry: 8
Tobias Harris: 3
Andre Drummond: 3
Furkan Korkmaz: 1
Charles Bassey: 1
Matisse Thybulle: 1
The Sixers came into this contest with seven straight wins under their belt. Philadelphia took both games versus the Charlotte Hornets back in early December. But Charlotte’s star point guard LaMelo Ball missed both of those. This figured to be different — and it was.
The Hornets play with the second-fastest pace in the entire league, and they certainly used that to their advantage in this one. Philly plays with the 26th-fastest pace, and had trouble exerting their brand of basketball in this one. Philadelphia is now just 8-9 at home.
Ball and the Bugs were flying all over the court and basically caught Joel Embiid and company asleep in the game’s early window. Gordon Hayward exploded, draining 13 of 16 from the field for 30 points. The Sixers didn’t really have a wing defender to slow Hayward down. Matisse Thybulle only logged 16 minutes, coach Doc Rivers preferring to go elsewhere with his rotation.
The Hornets racked up a whopping 64 points by the half, and even jumped out to a 20-point lead midway through the third. Philly climbed back into it but never really threatened to win. Charlotte stole this one, 109-98.
Let’s strike some melancholy chimes, shall we?
Joel Embiid: 31 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 7 turnovers
Embiid was a handful for the Hornets all game long. He had Mason Plumlee and P.J. Washington in all kinds of foul trouble trying to stop him. That duo totaled five personals apiece and had to worry about fouling out on some key possessions. And even when they got a good whack in, it sometimes looked like this:
But despite both Charlotte bigs dealing with five fouls, they utilized some crafty zone defense, doubling Embiid before he touched the ball on some big possessions down the stretch. Joel had a few too many turnovers in this one.
James Borrego’s squad also did a solid job keeping it out of his hands at times. At one point they countered the Embiid-Andre Drummond minutes with some hack-a-Drummond.
Still, Joel was an absolute beast and continues playing like one of the five best players on the planet. Like so many games this year, this one again reminded us that this team probably needs another top 25 player to truly compete for a title.
Tyrese Maxey: 10 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds
Speaking of trying to find Embiid some help, Ben Simmons’ agent Rich Paul, head of Klutch Sports was in attendance for this one, reportedly sitting court side after an unproductive meeting with the Sixers’ brass discussing Simmons’ future. That gave Paul a chance to see his other Sixers’ client, Tyrese Maxey.
One issue Maxey has had this season is meshing when Joel Embiid is having a dominant performance. And it’s possible that limited the second-year combo guard in this one. He certainly flashed some of his eye-popping upside. But then he’d vanish for long spurts, as 21-year-old guards are wont to do.
Still, it’s awesome to watch attack-mode Maxey and we got some of that tonight on the offensive end.
Man, did I miss watching Tyrese Maxey— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) January 13, 2022
Tobias Harris: 17 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal
There was news Wednesday from Chris Haynes of Yahoo that Sixers forward Tobias Harris recently had an MRI on his shoulder and they discovered some tendinitis. That news came shortly after Harris’ name popped up in some trade rumors. A dude who was a borderline All-Star a season ago, and nearly landed in the elite 50/40/90 club, Harris just hasn’t been himself this season. He heard some occasional halfhearted boos in this game as has been a trend recently. But the good news was that nobody died, he just got booed a little.
The Tennessee product shot 6 of 14 and got to the line for four freebies. He made some nice reads as a playmaker but it seems a combination of illness and injury continue to limit his impact during his age 29 campaign. He couldn’t really take advantage of some mismatches, he pump faked on a couple 3s that probably should have went up, and he got stripped on the way up for what might have been an easy dunk.
Furkan Korkmaz: 14 points, 1 assist, 2 of 4 from deep, 4 of 4 from the line
The Sixers starters were pretty bad in this one as a unit. Every starter was a double-digit minus in their time on the floor. So we had to get someone from the bench mob into this poll, because it was when Doc Rivers turned to his reserves that he got a spark.
Korkmaz did a little bit of everything, getting out on the break and drawing fouls, draining triples, and he even drew a charge.
Furkan did a better job on the Hornets wings defensively than the starters, who were pretty much torched by Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier.
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