The Hornets put up a fight before the Sixers locked in for a 108-94 win Monday at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers’ 14-point victory was closer than the final score reflects. They trailed the Hornets by as much as seven and went through 11 lead changes and six ties. The Hornets overcame a 4-for-21 shooting performance in the third quarter to tie the game halfway through the fourth before the Sixers pulled ahead for their 39th win of the season (39-30). The Hornets fell to 30-41.
• The Sixers signed Marco Belinelli with the vision of him being a JJ Redick-type player in the second unit. The veteran got hot in this game, scoring 21 points off the bench. Belinelli shot 5 for 9 from three in 24 minutes. Overall, the Sixers drained 18 shots from distance on 44 attempts (40.9 percent).
• Ben Simmons posted his ninth triple-double of the season (11 points, 12 rebounds, 15 assists, zero turnovers), ironically just hours after pointing out the wear and tear of the NBA schedule is catching up. Before the game, he said the team has been “kind of mentally fatigued.”
“It's just frustrating,” Simmons said. “Missing plays or just messing up on the floor, turnovers, rebounds that you should have gotten, it's just the little things that kind of get under your skin.”
• In the battle of the bigs, Joel Embiid emerged on top with 25 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks. (He also committed nine turnovers). Dwight Howard (10 points, four rebounds) and Amir Johnson (five points, one three-pointer, seven rebounds) were involved in a throwback big man matchup, circa 2005. Both centers were drafted straight out of high school. The Sixers had the advantage on the boards, 60-40.
• Justin Anderson earned first-quarter minutes after a solid showing in the Sixers’ previous game. He finished with seven points, four boards and two assists in 20 minutes. Dario Saric, who's been a reliable offensive contributor, scored just five points.
• Kemba Walker bounced back from his offensive struggles in the previous matchup between the two teams to lead the Hornets with 24 points, eight rebounds and six dimes.
• Nicolas Batum (left Achilles soreness) did not play. The Hornets missed his 11.9 points, 5.5 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game.
• Eagles Michael Bennett and Malcolm Jenkins took in the action.