Embiid, Simmons lead 76ers past Hornets 108-94
ABS-CBN Sports on Mar 20, 2018 09:46 AM
Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons (25) goes up for a dunk as Dario Saric (9) and Charlotte Hornets' Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14) look on during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 19, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
By Dan Gelston, Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joel Embiid had 25 points and 19 rebounds and Ben Simmons had a triple-double to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 108-94 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time).
Simmons had 11 points, 12 rebounds and 15 assists to help the Sixers keep alive their shot at finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference and earning home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The 76ers have one of the easiest schedules of any team the rest of the season. The Sixers would have to pass Washington and Indiana to grab the No. 4 seed and stave off a potential Toronto or Boston matchup for at least a round.
"Our goal is to make the playoffs," coach Brett Brown said. "Now, seemingly, we are pretty close to doing that. Now we all get greedy and say, 'Let's get a home court.' And I'm the captain of that new club. And it can only happen if we guard. And that's the message to our team."
How's this for D?
The Hornets missed 17-of-21 shots in the third (1-of-5 on three's) to crush their chances of stretching a seven-point halftime lead.
"Nothing matters unless we play defense," Brown said. "It's how we set the tone in this program since the day I arrived."
The 76ers have had countless dark days since Brown arrived in 2013.
The 19-, 18- and 10-win seasons that give birth to The Process have paid off this year, and the Sixers are set to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
They are the favorites in the majority of their games and have become the team that now has to worry about playing down to the level of their competition.
Philadelphia could never really shake Charlotte until late.
Embiid hit two straight three's and JJ Redick hit one to give the Sixers a 58-56 lead in the third. Marco Belinelli hit consecutive triples late in the third to make it 72-64. He hit one more three for a 10-point lead to help the Sixers beat their third straight sub.-500 team (New York, Brooklyn).
Embiid hit one more triple at the top of the arc to close the quarter.
Dario Saric hit a three in the fourth for an 88-83 lead and Robert Covington, who scored 18 points, sealed it with Philadelphia's 16th triple of the game for a 12-point edge late in the fourth.
Kemba Walker led the Hornets, coming off a 124-101 loss to the Knicks, with 24 points. Wily Hernangomez scored 17 points off the bench in just 12 minutes in the first half to help the Hornets lead 56-49 at the break.
Hornets: The Hornets made all 14 free throws in the first half. ... Hernangomez scored 15 points in the second quarter. ... Jeremy Lamb started start in place of injured guard Nicolas Batum (Achilles).
76ers: The 76ers went just 3-for-4 from the free-throw line in the first half. ... The loudest ovation of the night came when Hernangomez missed two straight free throws in the third to win every fan a free fast-food treat. ... Allen Iverson was in the house.
Hornets: Play Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) at Brooklyn.
76ers: Host Memphis on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time).