Sixers 133, Hornets 132: Embiid Helps Sixers Avoid Epic Collapse


Sunday night's blowout loss in Brooklyn was a bad one for the Sixers, but a defeat Friday night would have stung worse than any other this season. 

Somehow, the Sixers pulled out a 133-132 overtime win to move to 8-5 and stay unbeaten at home.

The Sixers led by 22 at one point in the third quarter, 80-58, but let Charlotte back into the game. They just couldn't stop the bleeding until it was too late - almost.

Kemba Walker had a shot to win it on the Hornets' final possession of regulation, but Robert Covington forced him into a difficult runner that he couldn't hit.

JJ Redick's half-court heave at the buzzer was on line but came up short.

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In overtime, the Sixers fed Joel Embiid again and again, and the big man delivered. Embiid had 42 points, 21 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. 

• Embiid played like an MVP on Friday, making all the important plays down the stretch to rescue the Sixers from what would have been a terrible loss.

His contested three-pointer to tie it up at 117 with 33.6 seconds left was a massive, superstar shot.

•Though the Sixers' offense was scratchy for much of the second half, Ben Simmons deserves a ton of credit for getting things working again late in the fourth quarter and overtime. His drive and right-handed lay-in on rookie Miles Bridges was a pivotal play in overtime.

On the Sixers' next possession, Simmons again attacked the rim, drawing a foul and making one of his free throws. It's very encouraging in the big picture that he was willing to invite contact and shoot those free throws. Simmons had 22 points, 13 assists and three turnovers.

• Dario Saric's best night of the season in Wednesday's win over the Pacers doesn't look like it was an aberration. He's stepping into his jumper with noticeable confidence now. 

After shooting 23.2 percent from three-point range in the first 11 games of the season, Saric has made 8 of his last 14. 

• Wilson Chandler was limited to 15 minutes for the second straight game, but he played well in his time on the floor, with eight points and five rebounds. Brett Brown said pregame that he hopes Chandler will be able to play in Saturday night's game in Memphis.

"It's just an injury prevention type of thing, getting your rhythm back type of thing instead of just throwing me out there," Chandler told NBC Sports Philadelphia pregame about his continued minutes restriction. "Health-wise, my hamstring and everything is good."

Brown is a fan of Chandler's versatility, which the veteran showcased Friday night, guarding Kemba Walker serviceably in his first stint and defending just about every member of the Hornets in his second. Regardless of who you switch him onto, Chandler is a capable defender. Outside of Ben Simmons, that's not really something you can say about any other Sixer. 

He knocked off a couple small milestones, making his first three-pointer as a Sixer and throwing down his first dunk as well. 

• Chandler's dunk was one of several plays where the Sixers simply beat the Hornets' defense down the floor in the second quarter. Charlotte coach James Borrego identified transition defense as a priority pregame, but his team was poor in that respect.

It's impossible to stop an explosive athlete of Simmons' caliber when you let him get free in transition. The Sixers had 21 fast break points in the first half.

• Markelle Fultz's free-throw shooting form was concerning Friday night. Fultz managed to make 3 for 6 free throws, but there was a substantial hitch in his shot. It looked as if he was pushing the ball toward the rim. Given Fultz's history, that form is obviously something to keep an eye on.

• With Mike Muscala sidelined for at least a week with a fractured nose and facial laceration, Jonah Bolden saw his first NBA action since Oct. 30. Bolden has gone back and forth several times between the Sixers and the Delaware Blue Coats, the team's G League affiliate. 

In his two games with the Blue Coats, Bolden posted a combined 40 points and 31 rebounds.

Bolden drained a nice rhythm three with 1.7 seconds left in the first quarter. He had five points and four rebounds in 10 minutes

Amir Johnson played just five minutes, the third straight game he's been under seven minutes. If Johnson continues to see his role reduced, there should be more chances for Bolden. 

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