The Sixers are quickly learning that challenges come in all variations during an NBA playoff chase.
One night after knocking off the reigning Eastern Conference champs, the Sixers returned home for a 110-99 comeback over the pesky Charlotte Hornets.
The Sixers outscored the Hornets 36-19 in the fourth quarter to secure the win. The victory helped the Sixers improve to 34-27 overall and run their win streak at the Wells Fargo Center to 13 in a row.
The loss dropped the Hornets to 28-35.
• Joel Embiid looked every bit like a player taking part in just his third career back-to-back set in the early going. He lumbered up and down the court and settled for one jump shot after another. That all changed after halftime as Embiid took over. He finished the night with 23 points (8 of 19 shooting from the field, 1 of 4 from three), 14 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
OOP, they did it again!— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 3, 2018
Simmons finds Joel for the alley-oop slam as the Sixers come out firing in the third quarter. They trail by four. pic.twitter.com/kekxbffzhb
• Embiid got plenty of help with four other Sixers scoring in double figures — Ersan Ilyasova (18 points, four rebounds, three assists), JJ Redick (18 points, two rebounds, two assists), Robert Covington (16 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals) and Ben Simmons (15 points, eight rebounds, six assists).
• The Sixers kept their miscues in check again on Friday. After committing just 10 turnovers against the Cavaliers, the Sixers followed it up with only 12 against the Hornets.
• Kemba Walker never gets mentioned in the discussion of players that you would pay money to see, but he’s box office. The guard from the Bronx has that New York City bounce to his game and is lightning quick. He sliced up the Sixers’ defense early and often on his way to 31 points on 11 for 21 shooting.
• In his first home game as a Sixer since last Feb. 11, Ilyasova had his fingerprints all over the victory. He scored his 18 points on 7 of 11 shooting from the field and 2 of 4 from long range. Plus, he attempted to take several charges with his lone one coming during a clutch moment in the final minutes.
• Embiid made a mockery of his counterpart on the other side in Dwight Howard. The 13-year veteran finished with six points and five rebounds in 25 minutes. More importantly, he committed five fouls as he fell for just about every Embiid rip-through shooting motion.
• For a second straight night in a Sixers game, things got testy toward the end. This time, Hornets head coach Steve Clifford was riding the officials in the final seconds before he received a technical foul and was ejected.
• Up next: The Sixers have a day off before a road matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday (8 p.m./NBCSP) that is crucial to the Eastern Conference standings.