The Charlotte Hornets have won four in a row, beating the 76ers 109-98 Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. It was the first time the Hornets have beaten Philly since November 2nd, 2016. Despite a strong game from Joel Embiid the Hornets did a great job defending everyone else, especially the Sixers starting backcourt. Tyrese Maxey and Seth Curry were held to just 10 points apiece. The Hornets would push their lead to as much as 20 points in the 3rd quarter as Sixers fans booed the home team. Philly would make a run, but the Hornets would close them out with a strong 4th quarter from Terry Rozier, Miles Bridges and Gordon Hayward. Here are the key takeaways from the 3rd matchup vs Philly.
Assertive Gordon Shows Up:
Gordon Hayward played one of his best games this season, making his first nine baskets and scoring 22 points in the first half. Hayward finished with 30 points on 13-16 shooting, including 4-4 from three. He would also have seven assists. This is the Gordon Hayward who the Hornets will need as they make a playoff push. I’m not saying he must score 30 every game, but he needs to be assertive. It also helped that he had this type of performance because LaMelo Ball struggled shooting the ball, but Hayward was able to pick up the slack.
Defense Continues to Improve:
Charlotte has been better defensively during their four-game winning streak. The Hornets held Philly to only 98 points. In today’s NBA, anytime you hold a team under 100 points it shows a solid effort defensively. Charlotte forced 17 turnovers, leading to 25 fast break points, and out-rebounded the Sixers 42-33. The Hornets have beaten Brooklyn, Golden State, Milwaukee twice, Philadelphia and Memphis. Those are some of the best teams in the NBA right now. When Charlotte defends, they give themselves an opportunity to beat anyone in the league.
Miles and Terry Complement Gordon:
Miles Bridges and Terry Rozier both played strong complimentary games to Gordon Hayward. Miles finished with 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Terry added 22 points. The Hornets needed good performances from both guys, as they were without Kelly Oubre who is in Covid protocols. Terry Rozier has played some of his best ball of the season recently. In his last ten games Rozier is averaging 22.6 points on 49% shooting from the floor, 47% from three, five rebounds and four assists. Terry has been a guy the Hornets can rely on in the 4th quarter as a big shot taker and maker.
Next, the Charlotte Hornets will take on the Orlando Magic Friday at the Spectrum Center looking to extend their win streak to five games. Expect LaMelo Ball to bounce back from his poor shooting game against Philly when he returns home.