In the Bonus | 03.02.18 vs Hornets

by Brian Seltzer Reporter

The following notes and nuggets were taken from the 76ers’ March 2nd 110-99 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Click here for a complete recap of the game, and be sure to check out our post-game pod below:

Bonus Points:

• Few coaches in the NBA probably know Brett Brown as well as his Charlotte counterpart, Steve Clifford, does, or for as long as Clifford has. Both men are Mainers, the latter even spending nights on the couch of Brett’s father, Bob, while he rose through the coaching ranks. Before their respective teams tipped off Friday at The Center, Clifford visited with Brown for an extended period of time inside the Sixers’ locker room. Despite the challenges Brown faced in his early seasons with the Sixers, Clifford never saw his friend waver. Words escaped him when he was asked to describe Brown’s resilience, a trait the Sixers indeed reflected in Friday’s come-from-behind win.

“The way he’s hung in there, the way they’ve played with effort every night, that’s not easy to do,” said Clifford. “They’ve stuck with it. They’ve always played with great effort and great purpose.”

• For our money, the signature sequence from Friday’s fourth quarter was the wave of successive lane-drives that JJ Redick, Ben Simmons, and Ersan Ilyasova made during the final three minutes of regulation. The flurry represented a key second half storyline -- the Sixers went to work inside. At halftime Friday, both the Sixers and Charlotte had totaled 22 points in the paint apiece; however, by the time the final horn sounded, the Sixers had the upper hand in interior scoring, 54-38. Ilyasova and Joel Embiid were a considerable part of this effort, tallying 10 and 12 points in the paint, respectively, in the second half.

• About Joel Embiid and Ersan Ilyasova, they combined for nearly half of the 62 points the Sixers scored in Friday’s second half, each manufacturing 15 points following intermission. Both also enjoyed a perfect shooting quarter against Charlotte. Embiid converted all six of his attempts in the third period, before passing the baton off to Ilyasova, who went 4 for 4 in the fourth.

• Of the nearly 23 minutes Ersan Ilyasova logged Friday, his second game back with the Sixers, 15 of them were spent alongside Joel Embiid. During that time, the Sixers outscored Charlotte by 9 points. Ilyasova split his remaining eight minutes of action evenly in pairings with Dario Saric (Sixers +3) and Richaun Holmes (Sixers -8).

• Going into Friday’s match-up with Charlotte, Brett Brown said his intent was to give Richaun Holmes and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot minutes, after neither played the previous night in the Sixers’ 108-97 victory at Cleveland. The head coach made good on his word, using Holmes as his first big man off the bench. Later in the first quarter, with three minutes lef, Brown called on Luwawu-Cabarrot to spell Marco Belinelli. In talking recently about the Sixers’ preparations for the post-season, Brown has stressed the importance of keeping low-minute reserves like Holmes and Luwawu-Cabarrot fresh and ready. He accomplished this aim in Friday’s win. Holmes finished with 4 points and 3 rebounds in 12 minutes, while Luwawu-Cabarrot played five minutes.

• Friday’s first quarter was a quiet one for JJ Redick, as he managed just one shot, a missed 15-foot pull-up jumper. Upon returning to the floor midway through the second frame, the veteran shooting guard wasted little time shaking loose. He quickly nailed a long 2-pointer, and before the period wrapped up, had added 5 points more on a 3-pointer and a 20-footer. Redick, who posted 18 points against the Hornets, reemerged as a key contributor late in Friday’s contest, scoring 8 points in the final four minutes on a combination of lay-ups and free throws.

• Playing their second game in as many days, the Sixers certainly competed with a different spirit in Friday’s second half. In hindsight, you couldn’t help but wonder if this emphatic left-handed flush just might have helped plant the seeds for a momentum change after intermission. 

Ben Simmons, guarded most of the night by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, produced 12 of his 15 points in the paint.

• In Tuesday’s loss at Miami, the Sixers’ 23 turnovers were an undeniable factor. In two games since, both (perhaps no so coincidentally) wins, the club has rebounded nicely. The Sixers surrendered the ball only 9 times at Cleveland, and just 11 times Friday versus Charlotte.

Brett Brown has been encouraged to see his team become more and more familiar with itself as the season has advanced. He attributed fewer turnovers to this chemistry. 

“As a group, we understand the things that hurt us early [in the season], if we didn’t fix them, the playoff mantra and our marching orders, it’s just words, it’s not going to happen,” Brown said. “We have fixed it, we’re trending in the right way, and we’re also staying aggressive. That’s the holy grail.”

• In our opinion, Robert Covington not only had himself a real nice, steady, efficient game against the Hornets, he surfaced at important junctures of the night, too. The swing man seemed to play within himself, having success driving the lane, and sinking quality 3-point looks. Covington went 5 for 10 from the field, 2 for 4 from 3-point territory, and came up particularly large by tacking on the first 5 points of the Sixers’ big fourth quarter. Defensively, he was his typical, active self, pacing the Sixers with 5 deflections, while contesting 9 shots.