Hornets Drop Road-Trip Opener in Overtime to Philadelphia
Charlotte Erases 21-Point Deficit, Can’t Complete Comeback Win Down the Stretch
By Sam Perley
The Hornets put together a big rally in the second half, but couldn’t finish off the 76ers in overtime, falling 133-132, on Friday, Nov. 9 in Philadelphia. This defeat marked Charlotte’s eighth-straight loss to their Atlantic Division foes and was also the 76ers’ 17th-consecutive regular season triumph at home.
Kemba Walker led the way for the Hornets with a team-high 30 points, seven rebounds and nine assists in the loss. All but eight of the NBA’s second-leading scorer’s points came in the fourth quarter or overtime.
Trailing by 21 in the middle of the third quarter, the Hornets surged to an eventual five-point lead with 1:18 left in regulation. Philadelphia managed to tie it in the closing seconds and Walker’s potential game-winner at the fourth-quarter buzzer came up short.
Both sides went back and forth in the extra period, but in the end, a pair of game-tying three-point attempts didn’t fall for Walker or Miles Bridges as the Hornets fell short in another one-possession affair.
“We just played harder, with more energy, with more purpose out there, more pace [after halftime],” said Hornets Head Coach James Borrego after the game. “I think there was just more aggressiveness in the second half overall.”
Jeremy Lamb added 17 points and three rebounds, although exited in the fourth and did not return (hamstring). Dwayne Bacon (15 points) and Malik Monk (12 points) each finished in double figures off the bench, while centers Cody Zeller and Willy Hernangómez both had 14. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist also notched his first double-double of the year (12 points, 12 rebounds).
The Hornets also knocked down 16-of-40 three-point shots (40.0 percent) and finished with a season-low seven turnovers. Philadelphia outscored the Hornets in the paint (50-38) and in fast-break points (28-16).
Joel Embiid had another monstrous outing for the 76ers, finishing with game highs in scoring (42 points) rebounding (18) and blocks (four). The All-NBA center also converted 19-of-22 free-throw attempts, 16 of which came after the third quarter ended. Ben Simmons chipped in 22 points, eight rebounds and game-high 13 assists for the hosts as well.
“I thought our bigs were great,” added Borrego. “They battled [Embiid]. I thought they were fantastic defensively. Tried to beat him to spots.”
The Hornets will continue road play on Sunday, Nov. 11, when they take on the Detroit Pistons starting at 3:30 p.m. EST.