PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Gordon Hayward scored his first nine shots and scored 30 points as the Charlotte Hornets beat the Philadelphia 76ers 109-98 on Wednesday night to break a 16-game losing streak in the series.
The Hornets had not won against the Sixers since November 2, 2016.
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Hayward fired with 9 of 9 in the first half – including four 3-pointers – for 22 points that put the Hornets 14 up at the break. Hayward, who averaged 17 points, became the fourth Hornets player after the 1996–97 season to score 20 points in the first half.
Terry Rozier scored 22 points for the Hornets and Miles Bridges added 21.
Joel Embiid scored 31 points for the fifth straight game and ended the Sixers’ seven-game winning streak.
Embiid continued to do Embiid things and ruined the Hornets with all kinds of shots from step-back 3 to down-the-lane dunks, which shook the backboard.
His recent stretch is one of the best in the team’s history, joining Allen Iverson and Wilt Chamberlain as the only Sixers to score more than 30 points in eight straight games. Embiid made 10 of 17 shots and 10 of 14 free throws against the Hornets.
“It’s skill and power,” Hornets coach James Borrego said before the game. “He knows how to play the game. The way he can impose his size and power on the game and still use skill and finesse at the same time.”
However, Embiid alone cannot take the Sixers and the franchise is still at a standstill with All-Star guard Ben Simmons. Embiid picked up his fifth foul in the third with 3:45, and the Hornets finished the quarter 85-76.
With a losing streak for the Sixers lasting more than five years, the Hornets instead showed why they could be a team on the rise in the Eastern Conference.
Tobias Harris hit a 3 that brought the Sixers just within eight, so that Rozier could come right back and hit a hit for the Hornets. Bridges buried Charlotte’s ninth 3rd to lead – and put that losing streak to rest.
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Hornets: Borrego stumps for rookie guard Lemelo Ball to make the All-Star team. “He brings a joy to our gym,” he said. “If we were doing a film session here, he’s the frontrunner, he’s the most talked about, he has a great feeling about us. You need that feeling to play 82 matches.
76ers: G. Danny Green checks his right hip after a hard fall and returns to the game. … Si Kai Jones entered into health and safety protocols.
The Sixers continued to motor with no change in Simmons’ position as he sits out of the season after seeking a trade. The NBA trade deadline is almost a month away (February 10) and rumors keep swirling around Simmons and the Sixers.
“We have Ben Cheese,” said coach Doc Rivers. “I’m sure there will be some crazy rumours. I can’t do much about it. But there may be more than usual. If that’s the case, you’ve got to deal with it. You’ve got to deal with it, I guess.”
Rivers said Simmons continues to visit the Sixers’ training facility in New Jersey.
“Hopefully we will have an answer sooner or later,” Rivers said.
Simmons’ agent, Clutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, sat by the court and heard a fan shout, “Yo, Rich Paul, get Ben Simmons out of Philly!”
Hornet: Host the Magic on Friday.
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76ers: Host the Celtics on Friday.