Five Takeaways From Philadelphia 76ers 109-93 Loss to Charlotte Hornets

Nov 2, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard forward Hollis Thompson (31) looks to pass the ball as he is defended by Charlotte Hornets guard Nicolas Batum (5) during the first half of the game at the Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers had their first road game of the season on Wednesday night against the Charlotte Hornets, and Philly was defeated 109-93 by the the Carolina squad.

After another hot start, the Philadelphia 76ers were unable to keep their momentum going on Wednesday night.

Despite strong efforts from Dario Saric and new addition Ersan Ilyasova, who each scored 14 points (team-high), the Charlotte Hornets beat the Sixers 109-93 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte.

The Sixers led 53-46 at halftime before being blown out by 19 points (39-20) in the third, and were unable to make up for the lost ground in the fourth.

Jahlil Okafor contributed 12 points and Gerald Henderson and Richaun Holmes both had 11, while Sergio Rodriguez scored 10.

The loss drops the Sixers to 0-4 on the year, while the Hornets improve to 3-1.

Here’s look at five takeaways from the Sixers’ loss to the Hornets

Nov 2, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward center Cody Zeller (40) and Philadelphia 76ers forward Rican Holmes (22) tip off the game at the Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

1 – Ilyasova is a Good Fit with Sixers

Despite joining his teammates merely a few hours before tipoff, Ersan Ilyasova appeared comfortable wearing a Philadelphia 76ers uniform.

The forward, who was acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder via trade on Tuesday, finished the game with a team-high 14 points (tied with Dario Saric). Ilyasova also contributed three rebounds and two assists.

A big reason the Sixers traded for Ilyasova was to add a legitimate outside-shooting threat to the squad. He knocked down his first shot-attempt of the game on a 3-pointer from the top of arc.

Ilyasova also had a nice impromptu give-and-go with guard T.J. McConnell, and it should be fun to see what type of chemistry he builds after a few practices with his new teammates.

As a stretch-four, Ilyasova should also help clear some space in the lane for some of the Sixers’ traditional big men as he pulls his defender out to the wing.

It’s a small sample size, but so far, the addition of Ilyasova is looking like a beneficial move for the Sixers.

Nov 1, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) reacts after a collision during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Wells Fargo Center. The Orlando Magic won 103-101. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

2 – The Sixers Look Like a Completely Different Team Without Embiid

During Wednesday night’s defeat, the Philadelphia 76ers looked lost for much of the game on both ends of the floor.

This could have been because, for the first time this season, the Sixers were without Joel Embiid, who did not make the trip to Charlotte.

Just three games into his career, there’s no denying that Embiid is absolutely the best player in the Sixers’ roster, and they certainly would have benefitted from having him against the Hornets.

Now, I’m not saying that the Sixers would have won the game had Embiid played, and I support the notion of resting him on back-to-back’s, but it’s hard to imagine the game wouldn’t have been a little bit closer had he been active.

We’ll get our next glimpse of the 7-2 rookie on Saturday when the 76ers host the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Nov 2, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) passes the ball as he is defended by Philadelphia 76ers guard Gerald Henderson (12) during the second half of the game at the Spectrum Center. Hornets win 109-93. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

3 – The Sixers are Struggling in the Third Quarter

The Philadelphia 76ers led the Charlotte Hornets 53-46 at halftime, but the lead didn’t last long in the third quarter.

Charlotte opened the second half on a 13-0 run and outscored the Sixers 39-20 in the quarter to go up 85-73 heading into the fourth.

On Tuesday, the Magic netted 41 points in the third quarter in against the Sixers in Philadelphia.

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The Sixers also turned the ball over eight times in the third quarter against the Hornets.

Granted the Sixers didn’t have their full lineup on Wednesday, but they were still able to hold the Hornets to 26, 20 and 24 points in the first, second and fourth quarters, respectively.

It’s an extremely small sample-size, but the Sixers cannot consistently give up 40-points in the third quarter the way they have in their last two games and still expect to win basketball games.

Nov 1, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Dario Saric (9) and guard Sergio Rodriguez (14) react to a score against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

4 – Dario Saric is Finding His Groove

After poor shooting performances in each of his first two NBA games, Dario Saric appears to be finding his groove as he adjusts to the speed of the world’s most competitive basketball league.

In his first two games, he went 4-for-21 on his field goal attempts (1-for-7 on 3-pointers) and scored just 10 total points.

In his last two games, Saric has been far more efficient, making 14 of his 28 field goal attempts (5-for-8 on 3-pointers) and totaling 35 points (14 of which were a team-high against the Hornets on Wednesday).

The Sixers have had high-hopes for Saric ever since they acquired him in the 2014 NBA draft, and after two strong performances it looks like he could be on his way to living up to the hype

Nov 2, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown during the first half of the game at the Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

5 – Brett Brown Shouldn’t be Blamed for Sixers’ Poor Start

The Philadelphia 76ers have lost their first four games of the year for the third straight season, but coach Brett Brown should not be blamed for the team’s early-season woes.

Think about it: the Sixers are without the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft in Ben Simmons (who is sidelined with a foot injury). They also don’t have their best rim-protector in Nerlens Noel (knee injury) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist injury), who was expected to be the team’s starting point guard entering the year.

On top of that, their best two scoring threats in Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor are both on minutes restrictions.

Point guard Sergio Rodriguez hadn’t played an NBA game since 2010 before this season and Embiid, Saric and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot are all rookies.

This is a team made up of guys that either have never played together before, or, are injured.

While the 76ers certainly could have beaten the Thunder and the Magic, they still don’t have their full team, and it’s tough to blame coach Brown given the circumstances.

The team needs time to gel and grow together before Brown can begin taking any of the blame.

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