You can take the Hornets’ best players out of the lineup, but you cannot take the best lineup out of the Hornets players. Coming into Monday’s battle with the 76ers, Charlotte impressed a night earlier.
Without four key rotational players, including both of their starting guards, they found a way past the Hawks. They are taking “next man up” right to heart right now, and it’s great to see.
Philly has been very up and down, still unable to find the chemistry since Joel Embiid returned. They scored just 87 in a surprising defeat to Boston last week and have struggled to put anything together for more than a game or two.
As it stands now, the record is 12-11, nowhere near where they believed they would be at this juncture, Simmons or not. Maybe, they should just execute a trade?
As for the Hornets, Ish Smith and Kelly Oubre Jr. both did a great job in the starting lineup last game, helping the team beat Atlanta without Terry Rozier and LaMelo Ball. James Borrego is doing a good job with his team this year, while Miles Bridges continue to impress, putting up yet another 30-point performance in that last victory.
For both of these teams, it is going to be about the guard play. Embiid can do all he wants. If he gets no help, the 76ers cannot will their way to wins.
Betting Odds & Lines
The spread for Monday night is set at PHI -6. The over/under is sitting at 220.5 points. The PHI moneyline is -250, while CHA is +198.
Philly Seeking Thirteenth Win
The East has never been as crowded after 23-25 games as it is this year. So, games like this one for Philly are important as they try and keep pace early. So many teams that started strong have slowed down, while others have started to hit their stride at the perfect time. Only six teams are guaranteed playoff spots now, while #7-#10 compete in a tournament.
They need a whole lot more from Tobias Harris, honestly, and Tyrese Maxey cannot be the #2 option on a team trying to win big. He and Seth Curry can have big nights, but they are supposed to just be role players.
A lot has to go right for them to win, even facing a short-handed Hornets team on the back end of two games in two nights set.
Charlotte Seeks Another Victory
At 13-11, it has been a bit hard to grade Charlotte. They have won some games in impressive fashion but also taken some knuckleheaded losses. They have gone both ways, good and bad, but the team does have a winning record to this juncture.
With Ball and Terry out, it very clearly shifts to become Miles Bridges’ team. He has been incredible all year while the team is reaping all the benefits of the Kelly Oubre Jr. pickup. Gordon Hayward, meanwhile, has been a good player in a now-supporting role.
They need to contain Embiid and also win the three-point battle.
Embiid or not, the 76ers will lose. Charlotte is going to will their way to another surprising win.
- CHA +6
- Over 220.5
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