The Philadelphia 76ers and the Charlotte Hornets put on a spectacular show for the fans, as the Sixers get the win in overtime.
On the second night of a back-to-back, the Philadelphia 76ers were able to pull out a miracle win against a very hungry Charlotte Hornets team. Kemba Walker and the Hornets were able to force overtime. It wasn’t an easy victory and it took a game winning 3-pointer from newly acquired All-Star Jimmy Butler to seal the win for the Sixers.
It took a team effort for the 76ers to overcome a career 60 point performance from Walker. There was just no stopping Walker in the game. Nobody that Philly threw at the point guard could slow him down significantly.
Certainly it took a team effort, but if not for the great overall showing of the Sixers new “Big 3” plus the sharpshooting of J.J. Redick, the Hornets would have easily taken advantage of a tired 76ers club. This game was a statement game for the 76ers by beating a Charlotte team led by the heroic effort of Walker.
Joel Embiid put on another vintage performance as arguably the best center in the NBA. Embiid forced opposing center Cody Zeller to foul out late in the game. Embiid attacked the basket early and often and it showed the sheer number of free throw attempts he took throughout the course of the contest.
The only thing that the Sixers could have asked of Embiid was to be more involved on offense in the second half, whereas he had the lion share of his scoring in the first half with 23 points. While the four turnovers aren’t something that fans should be thrilled with, Embiid was still able to put his staple on this game with his offense and defense.
With Jimmy Butler now on the team it’s not necessary for Ben Simmons to go off every night, but the Sixers are lucky that he did. He was aggressive getting his shots and had a surprising good night at the foul line. The near triple double speaks to the ability that Simmons has to impact all areas of a contest. Hopefully, this type of night is a sign of what has yet to come from Simmons.
For most of the game, Jimmy Butler’s offense wasn’t there. He even missed the game winning shot that would have won the contest for the Sixers in regulation. However, he redeemed himself by hitting the game winning shot in overtime and that’s why he got a “B” grade instead of a “B-“. In the second night of a back-to-back on a new team, it’s not too surprising that he will struggle offensively.
Outside of his defense on Walker, because no one was going to stop him during this game, Butler was still solid defensively. Even though Walker got 60 points on the Sixers, Butler was still clutch enough on defense to block a shot near the end of overtime by Walker.
Butler taking over late in games and taking game winning shots was the exact reason why the 76ers traded for the All-Star in the first place. His ability to score on all three levels will come in handy in close games in the future such as this one.
Having J.J. Redick back in the starting five must be a breath of fresh air for all parties involved. He gets the benefit of playing with his partner in crime, Embiid, more often. He also gets the benefits of playing off of Butler and Simmons. With the Sixers new trio of star players getting the majority of the attention from opposing defenses, don’t be surprised if Redick has more games like this one.
Mike Muscala didn’t have a good shooting night in his first start for the 76ers. It should be noted that Muscala started in the place of Wilson Chandler due to the latter having a tight minutes restriction on the second night of a back-to-back. Still, Muscala walked away with the team’s best plus/minus score of the night which is a positive. Once Chandler’s off his minutes restriction, Muscala should only be in the starting five if injuries occur.
Overall, Philly didn’t have a good shooting night. As a team, they shot 41.9 percent from the field, 31.4 percent from the 3-point line and 86.8 percent from the free thrown line. Turnovers proved to be a problem for the Sixers yet again with them ending the game with 19 versus the teams 23 assists.
Outside of Walker, the Hornets only had two other players score in double digits. Zeller who had 10 points and Jeremy Lamb with 20 points. It should be noted that Lamb’s 20 points came on the heels of 6-18 shooting from the floor. Beyond Walker’s ridiculous night, the Sixers were able to shut down most of the scoring option for the Hornets.
The only Sixers bench player with a positive plus/minus box score was Markelle Fultz. He shot 50 percent from the floor ending with six points. He also had six boards, one steal, block and assist, along with three turnovers. While the turnovers and lack of assists are concerning, it’s nice to see him impacting other areas of the game.
The Philadelphia 76ers now lead the season series 3-0 with the last regular season meeting occurring on Mar. 19, 2019. The Sixers will have two days off until they face the Phoenix Suns in the two team’s first match up this season.