Game Preview | Finally Back at Home
With the first eight games of the season in the rearview mirror, the 76ers (5-3) will play for just the third time at home Sunday as they host the Charlotte Hornets (4-5).
Small though the sample size may be, the Sixers excelled in their first pair of meetings at The Center.
At home this season, the Sixers lead the league in rebounding (59.0 boards per game) and defensive rating (88.3).
In its wins over Boston and Minnesota, the squad reached its two highest margins of victory this season.
Now looking to shift gears after a difficult road trip, the Sixers have two more chances to earn W’s on their home court with Charlotte Sunday and Cleveland on Tuesday.
“We get back home, we protect our court, and we take it to whoever we’re looking at next,” Tobias Harris said Friday in Denver.
With Ben Simmons (shoulder) sidelined in Friday’s 100-97 loss, backup point men Raul Neto and Trey Burke each contributed solid minutes.
Neto, who started, finished with 13 points - including a perfect 3-of-3 from deep - six assists, two rebounds, and a block in his 30 minutes.
In Burke’s first eight minutes of play as a Sixer, he added five points, three assists, a board, and a block.
“I thought he was great, he provided a spark,” Brett Brown said of Burke postgame. “There’s a toughness that I think all teams need.”
Harris was impressed too.
“He gave us a great lift today with Ben out. He did a great job today,” Harris said.
Sunday’s contest marks the first of three regular season contests with Charlotte.
The Sixers topped the Hornets, 100-87, in the preseason, led by Josh Richardson’s 18 points, four assists, three blocks and two steals. Harris added 16 points and eight boards in the contest, while Al Horford scored 11 and grabbed nine rebounds.
Last season, the Sixers swept the Hornets, 4-0.
In just his second NBA season, Devonte’ Graham leads the Hornets in scoring (17.8 ppg) and assists (7.3 apg). The former Kansas Jayhawk recorded a 24-point, 10-assist double-double in Charlotte’s first half of its back-to-back Saturday against New Orleans. Former Indiana Hoosier Cody Zeller leads the way on the boards, averaging 10.1 per game. The Hornets are 2-2 on the road this season.
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