Man, is it great beating the Hornets. Nothing personal, really -- with Michael Carter-Williams out last night, there wasn't even a particularly notable ex-Sixer or Sixers foe in the Charlotte lineup last night, unless memories of the Dwight Howard-led Magic team beating the Sixers in the first round in '09 are particularly raw for you for some reason. It's just that the Hornets are forever so the Hornets: A decently above average to decently below average squad essentially jogging in place while Rebuilding the Wrong Way squads like the Sixers sprint past. Hornets fans probably don't need the reminder, but it's not the worst feeling to give it to 'em anyway.
That's what Philly did last night, with their 128-114 victory. Charlotte wasn't slayed by any one particular Sixer -- in fact, Joel Embiid's weird two-way ineffectiveness lasted through the first half of this one, where he entered the break with nearly as many turnovers and fouls (three) as points (four), and got outplayed all game by Howard (30 points on 12-17 shooting, three blocks). But seven Sixers scored in double figures, including all five starters -- Embiid came alive late and ended with a non-abhorrent 18-5-4 line -- and everyone shared and shot the ball beautifully, with both the team's 35 assists and 16 threes marking a Philly high for 2018.
Though the game's most impressive box score showing probably belongs to Ben Simmons -- 16-8-13 on 8-9 FG with one turnover, a near no-hitter from our preternaturally gifted rookie point guard -- I'd give the game ball from last night to Robert Covington, our beloved True Processor who hasn't had a breakout game in what feels like (and probably actually is) months. RoCo scored 22 on 7-11 shooting (including five made triples, his most since Dec. 21), with two steals, two blocks, and just general two-way Rock beastliness like we haven't seen from him in ages, and like we really need from him going into the playoffs. He may finally be on his way back -- this was his fourth consecutive game with multiple triples, again his longest streak since Dec. 21.
Beating the Hornets, even on the road, should never be among your season's greatest accomplishments -- but if you can do it reliably and consistently, as the Sixers have been able to do thusfar this year, your team's probably in pretty good shape. And so the Sixers are; back up to seven games over .500 and snug in the East's sixth seed, with another visit to Miami coming tomorrow. If Covington stays rolling and Embiid's shaken off the bad juju, the Heat are gonna need an even throwbackier game from Dwyane Wade to have much of a chance.