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Hornets stop 16-game losing streak against 76ers


The Hornets haven’t burst champagne or go wild in the locker room after beating the Sixers for more than five years.

There was just a simple message from Gordon Hayward: Let’s move on to the next game.

“We talked about it before the game. We talked about ending the streak,” said Hayward. “It was a great victory for us. But it was only one.”

Hayward took his first nine shots and scored 30 points, and the Charlotte Hornets beat the Philadelphia 76ers 109-98 on Wednesday night to end a 16-game losing streak in the series.

The Hornets hadn’t won against the Sixers since November 2, 2016 and had the longest active losing streak against an NBA team.

Now the winning streak is at one.

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Charlotte Hornets ‘Miles Bridges, left, walks for the basket against Philadelphia 76ers’ Tobias Harris, right, in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Jan.12, 2022, in Philadelphia.
(AP Photo / Chris Szagola)

“We fought with these guys for a number of years and I feel like every shot at the end of the game went in their direction,” Hornets coach James Borrego said.

All the Hornets needed was a flawless Hayward first half to get them started.

Hayward came out shooting with a 9 of 9 in the first half – which included four 3s – for 22 points which gave the Hornets a 14-lead at the break. Hayward, who averaged 17 points, became the fourth Hornets player to score 20 points in the first half since the 1996-97 season.

“I had easy looks and was able to rock them,” said Hayward.

Terry Rozier scored 22 points for the Hornets and Miles Bridges added 21.

Joel Embiid scored 31 points for the fifth straight game and the Sixers’ seven-game winning streak has ended.

Embiid kept doing Embiid stuff and destroyed the Hornets with all kinds of fire, from a 3 recoil to a downstream dunk that made the back panel shake.

His recent stretch is one of the best in team history, joining Allen Iverson and Wilt Chamberlain as the only Sixers to score more than 30 points in eight straight games. Embiid had 10 of 17 shots and 10 of 14 free throws against the Hornets.

“It’s skill and power,” Borrego said. “He knows how to play the game. The way he can impose his size and power on the game while using his skill and finesse at the same time.”

Embiid, however, cannot carry the Sixers on his own and the franchise is still at a stalemate with All-Star goaltender Ben Simmons. Embiid committed his fifth foul with 3:45 left in the third and the Hornets finished the quarter with an 85-76 lead.

“It starts with me. I wasn’t good enough,” Embiid said.

With a back-to-back losing streak against the Sixers spanning more than five years, the Hornets, who have won back-to-back wins over Milwaukee, instead showed why they could be a thriving team in the Eastern Conference.

“I wouldn’t say that’s a message. We just need to keep improving,” Bridges said. “It’s three good wins against three good teams but we haven’t done anything yet.”

Tobias Harris hit a 3 that got the Sixers down to under-eight just for Rozier to come back right away and hit one for the Hornets. Bridges buried Charlotte’s ninth 3 to extend the lead – and put that losing streak to rest.

ADVICE

Hornets: Borrego ditched guard LaMelo Ball to make the All-Star squad. “He brings joy to our gym,” he said. “If we had a movie session here, he’s up front, he talks the most, he has a good mind about us. You need that mind to get through 82 games.” … C Kai Jones entered health and safety protocols.

76ers: G Danny Green had his right hip examined after a sudden fall and returned to play. … The Sixers made 16 turnovers.

THE THING BEN

The Sixers continue to roll with no change in Simmons’ status as he retires from the season following an offseason trade demand. The NBA trade deadline is about a month away (February 10) and rumors continue to swirl around Simmons and the Sixers.

“We have the Ben thing,” said coach Doc Rivers. “I’m sure there will be some crazy rumors. I can’t do much about it. But there may be more than usual. If there is, then you have to face it. You have to face it, I guess. “

Rivers said Simmons continues to visit the Sixers’ training facility in New Jersey.

“I hope we get an answer sooner or later,” Rivers said.

Simmons’ agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, was sitting beside the field and heard a fan shout, “Yo, Rich Paul, get Ben Simmons out of Philly!”

FOLLOWING

Hornets: Host the Magic on Friday.

76ers: Host the Celtics on Friday.


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