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Tired Sixers hang on for dear life to beat lowly Hornets, win fifth straight

It was not pretty and the Sixers looked mighty tired, but they outlasted the Hornets, winning their fifth straight and sweeping their road back-to-back.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Charlotte Hornets Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Ugly as it may have been, it counts in the win column all the same.

The Sixers won their fifth in a row by knocking off the Lamelo Ball-less Charlotte Hornets 97-89 Saturday night, with both teams on the second leg of a back-to-back.

Joel Embiid, once again having to play in crunch time for once, went for 33 points, shooting 11-of-23 from the floor along with 10 boards and five assists.

Tobias Harris had 21 points, five rebounds and six assists.

Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.

First Quarter

  • The alternate logo Charlotte used tonight at center court looked sick. Their uniforms since rebranding as the Hornets haven’t been great, but they have nailed the court designs for the most part.
  • Unsurprisingly, a starting lineup with P.J. Washington at center was not an effective deterrent on Embiid, who started the game with 15 points in the first. That’s unfair to Washington, as an overmatched Hornets’ defense sent Embiid to the line seven times in the quarter.
  • With Patrick Beverley out with an illness, that meant the Sixers went with some point Furkan minutes. Korkmaz strolled into the game and got all the way to the basket with this euro step.
  • The rest of the Sixers still looked a bit sluggish at the start of this one, and Charlotte took advantage by scoring 16 points in the paint. That left the game deadlocked at 24 after the opening quarter.

Second Quarter

  • He didn’t have nearly as bad of a start yesterday, but Maxey once again really got into a rhythm once the second quarter away. In a game with plenty of tired legs, Maxey still had plenty of impressive drives and finishes at the basket during this stretch.
  • It felt like every time Danuel House Jr. finished one of these dunks in transition last year it would end him with taking a nasty fall. He’s got to feel good landing this one on his feet, as he’s nursing a back contusion. He still drew the foul in the process of this one as well.
  • After that fast break, Philly’s offense sputtered out. Both teams played last night as well and that was very evident when they combined to shoot 19% from three in the half. Philly only scored three more points the rest of the half after House’s dunk. Embiid and Maxey took 70% of the Sixers’ shots in the first half, and were lucky to take a one-point lead into halftime.

Third Quarter

  • The game didn’t get any prettier coming out of the break, but the former Hornets playing for Philly got to do some damage. Kelly Oubre Jr. opened the second half by knocking down a three. Nico Batum blocked a Terry Rozier drive, then mixed things up by sealing his man and catching a post-entry pass from Embiid.
  • There haven’t been a ton of bright spots for the Hornets, but No. 2 overall pick Brandon Miller has been one of them this year. He had 12 points in the third as Charlotte shot the ball pretty well in the quarter.
  • The Sixers’ offense did not have the same fate. They settled for a ton of threes for a team that was coming up short on every jump shot. They shot 36% in the quarter as they trailed by four heading into the fourth.

Fourth Quarter

  • When in need of energy, look to Danuel House Jr. He ran out to get himself a fast break layup in the midst of an 11-2 run for the Sixers to start the fourth. He capped it off by draining a three the team desperately needed.
  • House’s running mate to begin the fourth was Harris, who had 10 points in the quarter. Similar to the Nuggets game, his turnaround jumpers buoyed an offense that looked dead in the water.
  • Despite the Hornets starting the fourth 1-of-8 from the floor and turning it over six times, it took the Sixers a long time to put this one away — nearly 10 minutes to get a lead over double digits. The Sixers even had to put their starters back in the game after putting the two-way guys in a 10-point game with 45 seconds left. Regardless, this is one of those nights where you’re just happy to walk away with a win.
  • The next time the Sixers play, they’ll be back on their home floor, welcoming Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs to town Monday night at 7 p.m. ET.

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