Sixers

How can Hornets counter Embiid after his special night?

Sixers

A Sixers win Wednesday night in Charlotte would mean a 3-1 road trip and a 2-0 mini-series victory over the Hornets. 

Here are the essentials: 

  • When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. 
  • Where: Spectrum Center 
  • Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus 
  • Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the MyTeams app 

And here are three storylines to watch: 

Charlotte still undermanned 

With Wednesday’s game the first leg of a back-to-back and the Jazz up next in Philadelphia, the Sixers sure wouldn’t mind a comfortable win in which they can give their starters reduced minutes. 

It’s a possibility on paper, but the Hornets were a tough out Monday. Rookies JT Thor and James Bouknight were two of Charlotte’s three men off the bench in the team’s overtime loss. Cody Martin, Miles Bridges, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Gordon Hayward all played at least 42 minutes. 

Five Hornets remain out because of health and safety protocols, including usual starters LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier and Mason Plumlee. The Sixers upgraded Tyrese Maxey (non-COVID illness) from out to questionable.

Any ways Hornets can contain Embiid? 

The odds of Charlotte winning (or even forcing overtime) if Joel Embiid again exceeds 40 points are quite low.

Schematically, the Hornets did their best to mix up defensive coverages on Embiid in his 43-point, 15-rebound performance, varying the timing on double teams and even showing some zone. They might consider using 7-foot Nick Richards a bit more than the 18 minutes he played Monday, although small-ball center PJ Washington’s outside shooting is valuable and he’s a superior overall player.

If Hornets head coach James Borrego is desperate for answers or wants to give a youngster a gargantuan challenge, he could turn to second-year big man Vernon Carey Jr. or rookie Kai Jones. Embiid would no doubt feel confident if either player saw time against him Wednesday. 

 

Curry should respond 

Charlotte native Seth Curry’s 50-40-90 chances took a small hit in the opener of the mini-series. He missed a technical free throw, dipping just below 90 percent at the foul line, and is now 40.5 percent from three-point range after an 0-for-6 night. 

Especially if the Hornets are determined to prevent Embiid from another massive scoring game, Curry looks set to respond well. Curry’s six three-point attempts without a make Monday were his most as a Sixer; a repeat effort would be a major surprise. 

Isaiah Joe did have a nice night from long range, making 3 of 4 three-point tries off the bench. Even if Maxey returns, there’s a good case for keeping Joe in the rotation for another game at minimum and playing 11 men.