Updated: 1:02 a.m.
The Sixers beat the Hornets Tuesday night in Charlotte, 118-114, extending their season-high winning streak to five games.
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It wasn't as simple as it sounds. Without Joel Embiid (rest), JJ Redick and Ben Simmons starred, while Jimmy Butler and James Ennis made clutch shots down the stretch to lift the Sixers to a wild victory in a game that had 22 lead changes.
Jeremy Lamb missed an open shot at the rim that would've tied the game and possibly set up for a third consecutive overtime game between the Sixers and Hornets.
Heading into Wednesday's matchup vs. the Celtics, the Sixers are 46-25, 2.5 games up on the Pacers for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference after Indiana's loss to the Clippers.
• Redick picked up where he left off Sunday (19 points on 7 for 10 shooting) by making his first three field goals, including the opening points of the game on a Redick special - an improbable three-pointer from the left wing that was late in the shot clock, off-balance and very tightly contested.
A three from the right corner that didn't disturb any part of the rim gave him 21 points in the first 17 minutes.
Redick passed Robert Covington for the second-most three-pointers made in a season in franchise history.
Kyle Korver has the record with 226 in the 2004-05 season.
Though Redick cooled off in the second half, he did a little bit of everything Tuesday night. In addition to 27 points, he grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds, dished out eight assists, and even took a key charge in the fourth quarter.
• Sixers fans already have two very good memories of Jimmy Butler in Spectrum Center. After nailing a game-winner in overtime on Nov. 17, Butler (23 points on 8 for 19 shooting) hit a clutch three-pointer from the left corner to give the Sixers the lead with 1:27 to go.
• The Sixers' bench badly needed someone to provide a little offense. James Ennis did that and much more. He finished with 14 points on 6 for 9 shooting and nailed two massive threes in the fourth quarter.
Talk about seizing a role on a team and not letting go - well done, James Ennis.
• In his last five games, Ben Simmons has just seven turnovers. It's a nice stat on the surface, but what's perhaps most encouraging for Simmons is that he hasn't seriously sacrificed his exceptional open-court skills to take better care of the ball.
BEN GOT MOVES 👀
Simmons gets fancy with the beautiful behind-the-back move to slice through to the basket as the Sixers lead, 62-58. pic.twitter.com/gQZe3V11Fg— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 20, 2019
Simmons had a pair of dunks in the first quarter off very convincing dribble handoff fakes.
Oh boy, that's a beauty.
Simmons throws home his second dunk of the game with this flashy move as the Sixers hold a slim 27-26 lead over the Hornets. pic.twitter.com/Z9jjLksiGp— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 19, 2019
Though it's certainly excusable for a player who's only missed one game this season, it looked like Simmons took off a couple of possessions defensively, allowing his man to beat him on the initial move and not making much of an effort to recover.
He posted 28 points on an incredible 11 of 12 from the floor, with eight rebounds and five assists.
• Amir Johnson started in Embiid's place, while Boban Marjanovic came off the bench. The duo combined for four points and four rebounds in 27 minutes.
Marjanovic didn't have a good first half. He got beat for a few rebounds and didn't attempt a shot in 10 minutes. If the Sixers are going to try to steal minutes from Marjanovic against centers with some agility who can knock down threes, he needs to win the matchup offensively and on the boards. While you don't want to force feed him the ball, the reality is Marjanovic needs to score vs. smaller centers like Frank Kaminsky to offset his defensive weaknesses.
Jonah Bolden took Marjanovic's minutes in the second half, his first action since March 10 vs. Indiana. Though the rookie was understandably not his sharpest and was called for four fouls in his 11 minutes, he's far better equipped than Marjanovic to guard stretch fives and pick up guards on switches.
Finally, Brett Brown used Simmons as his small-ball center to wrap up the game.
With 11 games to go, who Brown turns to at backup center against Boston should give us a better idea of exactly how willing he is to ride with Marjanovic, and how much trust he has in Bolden.
• After giving up a career-high 60 points to Kemba Walker in November, the Sixers had to be relieved when the Hornets' star picked up his third foul in the first quarter and took a seat on the bench.
But the Sixers couldn't avoid Walker forever. He scored 13 of the Hornets' 30 points in the third quarter, vaulting Charlotte into the lead.
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