Instant Replay: Hornets 109, Sixers 93

Instant Replay: Hornets 109, Sixers 93


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For two quarters, the Sixers looked to be on the verge of winning their first game of the season.

But a big letdown — both offensively and defensively — in the third quarter allowed the Charlotte Hornets to storm back, taking a 109-93 victory over the Sixers on Wednesday night at the Spectrum Center.

Dario Saric and newcomer Ersan Ilyasova scored 14 points apiece for the Sixers (0-4), who led by as many as 13 points in the second quarter and were ahead 53-46 at the halftime break.

But the Hornets (3-1) got 22 points from Kemba Walker and 20 from Nicolas Batum, who scored 17 points in the third quarter to turn things around for Charlotte.

The Hornets outscored the Sixers 39-20 in the third quarter, taking advantage of eight Sixers turnovers (leading to 11 points) and 72.7 percent shooting (16 of 22). Meanwhile, after shooting 44.4 percent in the first half (20 of 45), the Sixers managed to hit just 7 of 19 in the third quarter.

Inside the box score
• The Sixers finished the game shooting 39.5 percent from the field (34 of 86), to 49.4 percent (39 of 79) for the Hornets.

• The Hornets also enjoyed a rebounding advantage, leading on the boards 44-37 behind 13 from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Saric led the Sixers with seven rebounds.

• After commiting just eight turnovers in the first half, the Sixers finished with 19 — a total of 78 over their first four games.

• Six players finished in double figures for the Sixers. Jahlil Okafor had 12, Richaun Holmes and Gerald Henderson added 11 each, and Sergio Rodriguez scored 10.

Okafor in, Embiid out
While Okafor returned to the lineup after sitting out the Sixers’ loss to Orlando on Tuesday night, teammate Joel Embiid sat out Wednesday night’s game. Embiid stayed behind and worked out at the team’s training facility in Camden, New Jersey.

However, Sixers head coach Brett Brown opted to start Holmes instead of Okafor against the Hornets — a decision he said was made to better utilize the limited minutes the 6-11 Okafor would play. He was restricted to 24 minutes Wednesday, and wound up playing 23 minutes.

Neither Okafor or Embiid will initially play in back-to-back games — part of a plan Sixers officials are using to bring both players slowly back to form because of injuries. Embiid had missed the past two seasons recovering from foot surgeries, while Okafor missed the final 23 games last season after suffering a small tear in the meniscus of his right knee.

Ilyasova a late arrival
Ilyasova had a long day Wednesday. He played 24 minutes off the bench against the Hornets, less than 12 hours after joining the team.

Ilyasova, acquired Tuesday in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Jerami Grant and a conditional first-round pick, arrived in Charlotte early Wednesday morning. After a physical exam, he met with Brown and Sixers management over breakfast.

By lunchtime, he was watching game tape and worked out briefly with some of his new teammates three hours before Wednesday night’s game.

They said it
“I was in my office watching film, and Patrick Ewing came in and said, ‘Whoa! I’m watching film, and this guy could well be the most talented center in this league.’ If you know Patrick, that’s not — especially at that position — something he says often. … I’m glad that he played last night. Okafor’s bad enough, we don’t need them both.”

- Hornets head coach Steve Clifford on Embiid

Up next
The Sixers get the next two days off before playing their next two games at the Wells Fargo Center — against defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday and the Utah Jazz next Monday.

Sixers' Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot an artist on and off court

Sixers' Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot an artist on and off court

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot reached into the backpack he uses to carry around his belongings. Most players have headphones or iPads. 

Luwawu-Cabarrot had a sketchpad. 

The second-year guard has a knack for drawing. It is a talent he naturally possesses without formal training. 

“When I was a kid in school, I was just gifted,” Luwawu-Cabarrot said. “I just kind of liked it and kept doing it the whole year.”

Luwawu-Cabarrot draws to fill his time or whenever a certain image catches his eye. Going through his book of work (watch video above), he showed an intricately detailed shadowed sketch of a giraffe inspired by a picture he had seen. He penned a replication of a childhood photograph of his girlfriend, captivated by the expression in her eyes. 

Luwawu-Cabarrot also drew the image of his puppy that passed away while he was playing in Serbia. He is modest about his skill level with each piece. 

“I was trying to find something to draw or be inspired,” he said. “I took a picture of our former dog and I just drew it.” 

Luwawu-Cabarrot’s artwork hasn’t crossed over to basketball … yet. He does have a specific image in mind if he were to sketch his teammates: the reaction to T.J. McConnell’s game-winner against the Knicks last January. 

"I’ve thought about it," Luwawu-Cabarrot said. "Probably the picture when T.J. hit the two pointers for the win and Jo [Embiid] held him like this and screamed at him. That would be a cool picture."

76ers Gaming Club announce team name, logo for NBA 2K League

NBA 2K League

76ers Gaming Club announce team name, logo for NBA 2K League

The 76ers Gaming Club is Philadelphia’s latest professional esports brand. 

Set to compete in the inaugural season of the NBA 2K League, the fresh new esports brand —  which was officially released on Thursday by Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment — maintains the Sixers' classic style, which includes seven stars circling around a bell made up of the numbers seven and six. 

“We are excited to unveil 76ers GC’s new brand identity as we welcome another dynamic sports property to the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment family,” said Chris Heck, Philadelphia 76ers President of Business Operations. “Working alongside the NBA 2K League, we developed a brand identity that pays homage to the revolutionary origins of this city, speaks to the new Philadelphia fan and exemplifies the edge of the esports audience.”

Aggressive in its pursuit of esports investment opportunities, HBSE, already owners of Team Dignitas, a highly respected competitive esports club, bought into NBA 2K League with 16 other NBA franchises back in May. 

76ers GC joins Kings Guard Gaming (Sacramento Kings), Pistons GT (Detroit Pistons), Pacers Gaming (Indiana Pacers), Mavs Gaming (Dallas Mavericks), Cavs Legion GC (Cleveland Cavaliers), Wizards District Gaming (Washington Wizards), Magic Gaming (Orlando Magic), Jazz Gaming (Utah Jazz), Blazer5 Gaming (Portland Trailblazers) and Celtics Gaming (Boston Celtics). Also included will be the Toronto Raptors, Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks.

While 76ers GC was born to participate in NBA 2K League, it should be noted that the name “76ers Gaming Club” is void of any mention or image of basketball or NBA 2K. This leaves open the possibility of 76ers GC adding more competitive games and gamers under its brand in the future.

NBA 2K League is a professional esports league co-founded by the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., the creator of North America’s most popular sports title, NBA 2K. Players will receive a competitive salary and benefits. The league will begin its inaugural season, featuring five-on-five competition in May, following official player tryouts and a live player draft set for March.