The Sixers (33-25) hosted the Charlotte Hornets (15-44) on Friday. Both teams wanted to snap two-game losing streaks. Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris each dropped more than 30 points while Kyle Lowry went for 15 and 10 assists to lead the Sixers past the Hornets, 121-114.

Before we get to the action, some notes.

Contextual Notes

The Hornets were without the services of LaMelo Ball, who has right ankle tendinopathy.

Brandon Miller was out with a low back injury.

Mark Williams missed the game with a low back contusion.

Aleksej Pokusevski and Nick Smith Jr. are on assignments with Charlotte's G League affiliate and were out. Amari Bailey, Leaky Black, and Nathan Mensah are on two-way G League assignments and were not available.

Steve Clifford started Seth Curry, Tre Mann, Cody Martin, Miles Bridges, and Nick Richards.

The Sixers were without the services of Joel Embiid, who is recovering from a procedure on the meniscus in his left knee.

De'Anthony Melton was out with stress to the lumbar spine bone in his back. He will miss the team's two-game road trip to Dallas and Brooklyn.

Kelly Oubre Jr. missed the game with a sore right shoulder. KJ Martin has a right ankle impingement and was out.

Robert Covington remained out with a bone bruise in his left knee.

Kenny Lofton Jr. and Terq Smith are on two-way G League assignments with the Delaware Blue Coats and were not available.

Nick Nurse started Maxey, Lowry, Buddy Hield, Harris, and Mo Bamba.


- Any time Maxey and Lowry are on the court together, the ball-handling duties should be divided so as to give the younger guard some reps off the ball. You have the obvious benefit of him just getting some easier looks from three by the inherent nature of taking them off the catch instead of having to self-provision space for pull-up threes. The other benefit is that he gets to conserve some energy while playing.

That second benefit is enjoyed particularly when the off-ball guard isn't a prolific mover. Even though Maxey is still getting some degree of relief by not having to read defenses while dribbling and taking contact, he's still an active off-ball player. That affords Philadelphia opportunities to run some layered actions for the first-time All-Star.

The Sixers opened the playbook on the first possession of the game, putting the ball in Lowry's hands and having Maxey sprint around off-ball screens before curling into an open look for a catch-and-shoot three.

Those off-ball plays don't have to be capped at creating spot-up threes, either. Maxey should read what the defense is showing and react from there. It's just as much about manufacturing advantages as it is about spoon-feeding easy shots on the first pass.

- We can all accept that the Hornets are awful while acknowledging that Harris desperately needed a first half like the one he had. For starters, he attempted five triples - all in the first quarter. It probably speaks to both bad defense by Charlotte and the lack of respect Harris has from the perimeter that he was so empowered to let fly from distance. But, he was shooting off the catch regardless of how close white jerseys were to him.

The hot shooting by Harris' standards perked his ears up throughout the rest of the first half. He was an active off-ball cutter, beating his man along the baseline to catch a beautiful needle-thread pass by Paul Reed for a dunk.

Perhaps as strong an indicator of how he was feeling as anything was the effort on the defensive glass. Simply put, he got after it. Charlotte enjoyed the fruits of an extremely hot shooting first half, which made any and every stop critical. Harris was extremely aggressive in shutting down possessions on the first miss as often as he could get to the ball as it came off the rim.

Even if the case had been that he couldn't hit the water falling out of a boat, you could reasonably forgive that if he was trying to do other things to make up for the lack of scoring impact. That's why the no-shows against Boston and Milwaukee were particularly disappointing. But, this game was the first in a while that saw him contribute on both ends of the floor. It's anyone's best guess as to whether he'll find some stability in the scoring column as this season comes to a close. But, he needs to not let the frustrations lead to disengagement on the other end of the floor.

- Say what you want about Lowry, but that dude's mind is going to keep him in the league for as long as he wants. The sharpness with which he makes plays is an element that perhaps only Nico Batum provides this team. Perhaps only by the standards of his last few seasons was this a robust game in his box score, but the lineups were at least organized even if not necessarily productive when he was on the court.

His precision as a passer stood out. It's not easy to make Bamba look like he has great hands on offense, but Lowry got the ball to him inside a number of times in this game. Not only are his passes accurate, but they're difficult for defenses to read. He made gorgeous feeds over the top of the defense - high and away from where they could bother Bamba as he caught the rock - without telegraphing his plan. He caught the Hornets off guard and out of position, making sure he put his teammates in positions to succeed.


- As mentioned above, Charlotte enjoyed some shooting luck in the first half. But, the Sixers could've mostly put this one away in the first half with just competent pick-and-roll defense. Their coverages with Grant Williams in the game were disastrous. As strong as Williams is, there's absolutely no way his involvement in a pick-and-roll should confuse your coverage. Yet, he had open roads to the basket on a couple of possessions in the first half.

It wasn't just him, though. Richards snuck behind the action all night long, stepping to the rim for some pretty basic finishes off of the first or second pass on the play.

The Sixers (34-25) will visit the Dallas Mavericks (34-26) on Sunday. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m., Eastern time. You can catch the action on ABC.

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