Philadelphia 76ers vs. Charlotte Hornets Preview

After a last second defeat the night before in the City of Brotherly Love, the Philadelphia 76ers now must go on the road against the Charlotte Hornets.

During my days playing basketball for my high school team, road games were never easy and rarely fun. This will most likely be the case for the Philadelphia 76ers as they go against the Charlotte Hornets on the road for the first time this season. If the Sixers want to pull off a win in North Carolina, they will need to bounce back in several major ways from last night’s game.

All season so far, turnovers have been an issue for the Philadelphia 76ers. Tuesday night alone the Sixers had 16 turnovers. If the Sixers want to start playing winning basketball they will need to cut down the turnovers.

Offensive rebounding has also been an issue for the Sixers this season. They have been out-rebounded on the offensive glass in all three games by an average of 5 per game. Against a team that has glass eaters like Cody Zeller and Marvin Williams this will be especially important. Luckily for the Sixers they will most likely not have to contend with Hornets big man Roy Hibbert, due to injury.

Not only do the Sixers have to contend with defensive high energy bigs that the Hornets offer, but they will have to contain the great perimeter play of Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Walker has All-Star written all over him this year averaging 23 points, 5 assists, and 2 steals per game. Batum is probably one of the most well rounded of perimeter players in the league. While Kidd-Gilchrist is one of the better defensive wings in the league and is still developing his offensive game. Jeremy Lamb is out for the Charlotte second unit due to injury, so that will help the Sixers against the wing depth of the Hornets.

The Hornets score more than the Philadelphia 76ers by an average of 10.5 points per game. They are also a better defensive team allow an average of 6.3 fewer points per game than the Sixers. This is a big margin for the Sixers to close, but not impossible. They will need to be on their “A” game.

The Sixers will not have Joel Embiid for this second game of a back to back due to his minutes restriction. This will allow Jahlil Okafor to start and even though he will be on a minutes restriction, he will provide an offensive punch the team needs. The team will suffer defensively without Embiid, but hopefully Okafor has improved enough from last season to make the likely loss not as bad.

Hollis Thompson will need to have another big game off the bench. Against the Magic, Thompson had 22 points while shooting 80 percent from the field. On the season he has averaged 9.7 points per game which is fourth highest on team and a PER of 19.6 which is the second highest PER on the roster. If Thompson can continue this success then the bench could eventually become very solid asset for the team.

One player that must start playing better is Robert Covington. Covington is averaging on the season 3.3 points per game while shooting 17 percent from the floor and 15 percent from the 3-point line. Covington must shoot the way we know he can if the Sixers want a chance to win.

This is certainly not an easy match up for the Sixers. If the Sixers can get strong performances from several players and use the lost to the Magic as a chip on their should, then they could pull out a victory.

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