The Sixers (46-22) visited the Charlotte Hornets (22-49) on Friday. Philadelphia wanted to win its seventh consecutive game. Charlotte wanted to snap a three-game losing streak. Embiid, Harden, and the Sixers bulldozed the Hornets to officially eliminate Charlotte from the playoffs, 121-82.
Before we get to the game, allow me to set the scene.
The Sixers were without the services of Jalen McDaniels, who has a right hip contusion.
Louis King and Mac McClung are on Two-Way G-League assignments with the Delaware Blue Coats and were out.
Doc Rivers started Harden, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris, PJ Tucker, and Embiid.
The Hornets were without the services of LaMelo Ball, who is out for the rest of the season as he recovers from surgery to repair a fractured right ankle.
Cody Martin missed the game with a sore left knee. Mark Williams has a sprained right thumb and was out.
James Bouknight is on an assignment with the Hornets’ G-League affiliate and was unavailable. Theo Maledon is on a Two-Way assignment with Charlotte’s G-League affiliate and was out.
Steve Clifford started Terry Rozier, Kelly Oubre Jr., Gordon Hayward, PJ Washington, and Nick Richards.
The good moments have been few and far between for Harris lately. As such, it must’ve felt like a weight off his back to have a really nice game against Charlotte on Friday. His teammates looked his way early, the Sixers running flex actions that got him sealed for touches inside. It all started with a contested triple from the right wing that found the mark early in the game.
Once Harris saw one go down, he was ready to go. He knocked down another triple later in the first half from the left wing, rattling in a catch-and-shoot look early in transition. Harris didn’t just fall in love with the perimeter. The deep ball was just a tool at his disposal throughout the night. Harris bullied mismatches, intuitively backing his way down to the basket for high-percentage shots when he sensed mismatches. He ran the floor in transition, redeeming a dunk on a gorgeous pocket pass from Tucker. He even got a rep in a pick-and-roll, pulling up for a midrange jumper after clearing the screen.
I can see both sides of the argument regarding Harris’ importance in the playoffs. There’s no question they will need him to be his best self on defense. But, the offense is a different story. They needed him to…
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