Updated, 6:09 p.m.
The Philadelphia 76ers continue their tour of sub-.500 teams with a trip to Charlotte on Saturday to face the 7-16 Hornets.
This will be a homecoming of sorts for Kelly Oubre Jr., who played the past two seasons with the Hornets. Oubre averaged 20.3 points and started 40 games for the Hornets last season before coming to the Sixers in the offseason.
The Hornets this season are typically led by LaMelo Ball, but Ball has been out since Nov. 26 when he suffered an ankle injury. Charlotte has gone 2-6 without their leading guard who is averaging 24.7 points per game. Instead, they will rely on Terry Rozier, averaging 24.4 points and 7.5 assists this season, as well as Miles Bridges, who’s averaging 20.5 points and 7.0 rebounds.
This has been yet another rough season for the Hornets thus far. Though maybe not to the extent that the Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons are suffering through, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing. At 7-16, the Hornets are ranked 20th offensively and a brutal 29th defensively, second-to-last only to the Wizards.
The Sixers post a clean injury report. This being the second leg of a back-to-back, it wouldn’t be unheard of to see the likes of Joel Embiid resting, but he’s been able to rest most fourth periods recently, which possibly is coming into play in him being ready to go Saturday.
The Hornets’ injury report is quite full. In addition to Ball, Gordon Hayward (illness), Cody Martin (left knee), Frank Ntilikina (left tibia), Theo Maledon (not with team), P.J. Washington (left shoulder) and Mark Williams (low back) are all out.
Regardless, this is truly another one of those must-win games for the Sixers in that they are, by every metric on paper and by eye, the better team by a fair margin. Philadelphia is, so far, taking advantage of this soft section of its schedule and the Sixers should be able to continue to do so on Saturday night.
The Sixers and Hornets tip off at 7 p.m. ET.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers at Charlotte Hornets
When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic