Last night, the Philadelphia 76ers picked up their third win in a row after defeating the Charlotte Hornets 105-99. Dario Saric, the Sixers rookie of the year candidate, was a key contributor in the victory.
Saric — who finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds — is having himself quite a month. In February, Saric is averaging 16 points to go along with six rebounds and 34 percent shooting from three-point range. Those numbers aren’t mind-boggling, but they’re fairly impressive for someone making the transition from overseas.
Prior to the Sixers victory Monday night, Hornets forward Nicolas Batum guaranteed a victory in the game. The comment by Batum might’ve given the Sixers some added motivation. In a post-game interview, Sixers guard T.J. McConnell said, “We’re not a guaranteed victory for the other team. If you guarantee stuff you better back it up.” It sounds like the guarantee may have agitated Sixers players ever so slightly.
McConnell was also a key contributor in the Sixers victory on Monday night as he scored 14 points and had seven assists on over 50 percent shooting from the field. Robert Covington, Gerald Henderson, Nerlens Noel, and Nik Stauskas all poured in double-figures as well to help quash Batum’s comment.
Despite the Sixers having won three in a row, they’re just 4-6 in their last 10 games. Most of this can be attributed to the absence of should’ve-been-all-star Joel Embiid. Embiid is the Sixers anchor on defense and driving force on offense. If the Sixers had Embiid out there it’s hard to believe that record wouldn’t at least be flipped.
Next up for the Sixers is a matchup with the Celtics in Boston. This will be the last game the Sixers play prior to the all-star break. A win in this game would be nice because the Sixers would pick up their fourth straight victory while beating the second seed in the Eastern Conference. A loss, however, wouldn’t be all that bad considering it would put the Sixers one game closer to acquiring a top level player in the draft.
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