Charlotte Hornets vs. Philadelphia 76ers Pick & Prediction JANUARY 20th 2024

The Charlotte Hornets had a rare taste of success to begin the weekend.

Taking another sip won’t come easy.

The Hornets play the second game of a home back-to-back set when they face the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

Charlotte snapped a six-game losing streak with a 124-120 victory against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.

“It’s good for confidence,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “I’m proud of them, of the way they’ve hung in there. We’ve kept competing. We’re in a brutal stretch.”

Hornets forward P.J. Washington added, “We played together and we kept fighting the whole game.”

The 76ers have won four in a row after their 124-109 road victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday. Joel Embiid had 36 points, making all 11 of his free-throw attempts, and Tyrese Maxey racked up 32 points.

Embiid, who has a franchise-record 19 consecutive games with 30 or more points, leads the NBA with an average of 35.1 points per game. He is shooting 53.8 percent from the floor.

“He’s really big. He’s really, really skilled,” 76ers coach Nick Nurse said after the Friday night game. “He has a size advantage. He has a real nice shooting touch. He has quite a package.”

Charlotte’s point total Friday night was its largest since Nov. 30, a span of 22 games. Four Hornets scored 20 or more points.

“We have to get to that more often,” Washington said. “Obviously, we had a good game (Friday), but we have to keep it going. Quick turnaround.”

Guard LaMelo Ball led the way with 28 points in his first home game in nearly two months. Ball was out for six weeks due to an ankle injury before getting back in action on Jan. 12.

“We’ve been getting a lot of L’s,” Ball said. “We had to do something to get it turned around. Just getting more comfortable.”

The 76ers won 135-82 last month at Charlotte behind Embiid’s 42 points in three quarters. Philadelphia is 24-6 in games that Embiid has played this season.

The Hornets could be in an additional bind while dealing with Embiid, as center Nick Richards didn’t play Friday night because of an ankle injury.

“No idea, we’ll see (Saturday),” Clifford said of Richards’ status. “He tried. He went out and warmed up, just wasn’t feeling good.”

None of the 76ers logged more than 35 minutes Friday night. Embiid sat out the fourth quarter, a nice bonus with games on consecutive nights.

“Our job is to take the lead and keep the lead so the big fella can rest,” Maxey said. “He did a lot in the first three quarters.”

Embiid said winning by large margins helps reduce the physical toll.

“I can keep playing these back-to-backs,” he said. “I was hoping I wouldn’t have to go back in. If we can keep that going, it would be nice.”

Philadelphia lost its previous two road games prior to Friday, but it improved to 11-7 away from home this season.

–Field Level Media

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