CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nicolas Batum guaranteed a Hornets’ victory over the Sixers on Monday.
Instead, the Sixers handed the Hornets their 10th loss in 11 games.
The Sixers jumped out to an early first-quarter lead. The Hornets fought back in the second, holding the Sixers to just 17 points. The Sixers responded with 32 points in the third en route to a 105-99 win.
Batum, in case you were wondering, scored 16 points with just one rebound. He missed a three that would have cut the Sixers’ lead to two points with 25 seconds to go.
The Sixers snapped a seven-game losing streak in Charlotte. The last time they beat the Hornets on the road was Nov. 30, 2012.
Inside the box score
• All-Star guard Kemba Walker led all players with 29 points.
• Dario Saric needed only three quarters to reach a double-double. He finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds in 31 minutes off the bench.
• Robert Covington scored 17 points.
• Ersan Ilyasova pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds.
• Frank Kaminsky had 11 boards in a double-double with 12 points.
Who was in Charlotte?
Jahlil Okafor did not travel with the Sixers amid trade talks (see story). Joel Embiid also remained in Philadelphia as he rehabbed from a left knee injury, missing his 10th straight game.
Plenty of Sixers fans were at the game, though. Their “Trust the Process” and “Let’s go Sixers” chants could be heard in the Spectrum Center.
The Maine bond was running deep in Charlotte on Monday. Hornets head coach Steve Clifford praised close friend Brett Brown for his work over the past three-plus years with the Sixers.
“I marvel at it,” Clifford said. “Losing is the toughest thing (about coaching). … That’s when you find out how good a coach you are.”
Clifford gave Brown credit for the development of players, including Nerlens Noel, Covington and T.J. McConnell.
Catching up with Christian
Former Sixer Christian Wood is applying what he learned in Philadelphia to his first season with the Hornets.
“It helped me a lot,” Wood said of his experience with the Sixers. “As soon as I got here, I knew what I needed to do. I was very prepared coming into training camp.”
Wood spent time with the Sixers and the Delaware 87ers last year as a rookie. He signed with the Hornets in free agency. He has played the majority of his games this season for their D-League team, the Greensboro Swarm.
The Sixers will travel to Boston for Wednesday’s game against the Celtics, their final contest before the All-Star break and trade deadline.