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Looking for a third straight win, the shorthanded Sixers face the struggling Hornets

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For the second time this season only 9-8 Philadelphia Seventy Sixers You have a chance to move two games over .500. Hours removed from their impressive and surprising victory 115-106 on Brooklyn NetworksThe Sixers would venture to Charlotte to duel with the 4-14 Hornets, who had lost three straight games.

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Philadelphia is 11th in net rating (plus 2.2), 16th in offensive rating (112.3) and 6th in defensive rating (110.1). Charlotte ranks 27th in net rating (-6.2), 30th in offensive rating (106.7), and 19th in defensive rating (113.0). Every team misses its brightest stars. Due to a sprained left ankle, LaMelo Ball is set to miss his 16th game of the season. He initially hurt it during the preseason and returned on November 12, but it aggravated late in Charlotte’s loss to Indiana Pacers On November 16, Cody Martin was also out after undergoing surgery on his left knee.

As of 12:30 PM EST. injury report, the Sixers did not provide an update. But James Harden (right foot tendon sprain), Joel Embiid (mid foot sprain) and Therese Maxi (left foot fracture) are all presumed sidelined again. Tobias Harris sprained his ankle in the second half on Tuesday, but got back into the game and said afterwards that he wanted to play on Wednesday.

With no ball available for much of the season, Charlotte relied heavily on the quartet of Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, Kelly Ober Jr. and PJ Washington to shepherd the offense. If I had to guess the defensive duties of those four, I’d bet Shake Milton on Rozier, PJ Tucker on Hayward, De’Anthony Melton on Oubre and Harris take on Washington, assuming the veteran swordsman fits. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tucker and Milton’s responsibilities were swapped or changed, too.

Hayward is the best playmaker in the pack there, but his dwindling size has limited some of his opportunities in recent years. If the Sixers can field the assist properly and keep their man in front of them, they should be able to show why Charlotte has come into this last game with offensive efficiency. The Hornets haven’t played since Sunday and Philadelphia is embarking on its fourth game in seven days, so this could be tougher than imagined.

After finishing fifth last season, the Hornets have fallen to 17th this year. This is a product of Ball’s absence, along with coach Steve Clifford who replaced James Borrego. Such a shift would likely benefit the Sixers, who rank 25th in opposition transfer frequency (16.8 percent), according to Cleaning The Glass. But I’m sure you’ve guessed that this team isn’t very good at blocking a fast breakout volume, despite being a strong defensive unit overall.

While Brooklyn’s aversion to the edge (27th in frequency) served well Philadelphia’s undersized rotation, Charlotte’s lives on the inside (third in frequency). Paul Reid avoiding fouls (one in 31 minutes on Tuesday) will be vital, given Montrezzell Harrell’s limitations as an inside deterrent. Milton’s tendency to force a coup d’├ętat may also be crucial.

Reed is riding the wave of the best game of his career as he wreaks havoc on both ends. He cut the ball well and showed improved patience as a captain off the ball. His defensive play and hedging were excellent as always. Mason Plumlee is an ineffective edge guard, often making Hornets appear or hedge on pick and roll. So, there is certainly a chance that Reed will thrive again; The onus will be on Harris, Melton and Shake Milton to handle those covers properly and find the big long-range guy. Harrell has struggled this season, but this could be a good game for him as well, at least offensively.

I also like Milton, who has been establishing some tempo lately, to find success against Rozier. The former Louisville guard is not very effective at hopping between screens and likes to pull himself out of plays. However, the Hornets recruit superstar Dennis Smith Jr., who has developed into a feisty defender at point offense and an instinctive playmaker off the ball. He averages 20 minutes per game in a reserve role, and I imagine he gets a great run in that role, spending time with both members of the Melton-Milton tandem.

With 24 points, six rebounds and three assists, Harris was great on Tuesday, especially in the second half. He could face more resistance against Washington and Galen McDaniels in the fourth, though if Philadelphia can plot a useful substitution for him, a repeat of this bully ball performance is plausible.

For as long as the Harden-Embiid-Maxey trio has been out, this team is probably going to be a roundabout bit of inconsistency. All my predictions could be foolish in a few hours. However, they will aim to repeat Tuesday’s success and continue to walk through the water without a top three player.

Game details

From: Philadelphia Seventy Sixers against. Charlotte Hornets

When: 7 p.m. EST

where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Watch: Spectrum Centre

radio: 97.5 fanatic

Follow: @employee

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