NBA: Embiid, Harris stop Sixers slump as Hornets routed
NEW YORK – Joel Embiid scored 29 points as the Philadelphia 76ers halted their three-game losing streak with an emphatic 144-114 rout of the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.
The Sixers had slumped to defeats against the Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks and lowly Detroit Pistons heading into Saturday’s early home game at the Wells Fargo Center.
But Embiid and a balanced Sixers offense were in no mood to concede a fourth straight loss against a Charlotte team in 10th place in the Eastern Conference.
The Sixers held a narrow 58-53 lead at half-time but pulled away with a 45-point third-quarter performance before pouring in 41 points in the fourth quarter to seal a crushing win.
Embiid finished with 29 points, 14 rebounds and six assists while Tobias Harris had 23 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Tyrese Maxey added 19 points while James Harden finished with 12 points and 13 assists.
The Sixers improved to 47-30 with the victory to remain in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, within touching distance of a playoff place.
Miles Bridges led the Charlotte scoring with 20 points, with P.J. Washington adding 14 and point guard LaMelo Ball 13.
“That was a great game for us, coming back off a disappointing loss in Detroit,” the Sixers’ Harris said afterwards.
“Just being able to push the pace today and get going was big for us.”
Harris said the Sixers had been determined to start strongly after half-time following recent poor performances in the third quarter.
“We haven’t had the greatest of starts in the third quarter in the last few games, so that was an emphasis for us – we had a lot of energy in that third quarter,” he said.
The Sixers can clinch a playoff place on Sunday with a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who defeated the already-eliminated New York Knicks 119-101 in Saturday’s other early game.
The Cavaliers are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference on 43-35, just outside the top six automatic playoff places.