76ers, Hornets get together for rematch
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Dwight Howard gets a rematch with Joel Embiid when Charlotte faces the Philadelphia 76ers for the second time in five days on Tuesday night, this time on the Hornets' home court.
Embiid dominated Howard in Friday's 110-99 win in Philadelphia, outscoring him 23-6 and outrebounding him 15-6.
The loss was the second of what turned out to be three straight for Charlotte on a winless trip to Boston, Philadelphia and Toronto. Howard contributed just 12.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game on the trip.
That was in marked contrast to a 17.8-point, 12.2-rebound run while the Hornets were winning five straight before heading north.
Howard was plagued with foul trouble in Friday's loss. Without him around to protect the rim, the 76ers shot 50.6 percent, far better than the Hornets, who struggled to 42.0 percent.
If there was a positive from the game, Howard avoided allowing the frustration of the foul trouble to lead to a technical foul. In fact, he didn't get any on the trip, leaving him with 13 with 18 games to play.
Should he reach 16 before the end of the regular season, he would receive an automatic one-game suspension, probably the last thing the Hornets need as they fight an uphill battle to make the playoffs.
"Obviously, he's got to be careful. I'll just leave it at that," Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. "Obviously, we don't want to play any games without him. He knows that."
The 76ers' visit begins a three-game homestand for the Hornets and ends a rugged eight-day stretch in which they'll have played the 76ers twice and the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors once apiece.
The schedule softens significantly after Tuesday. Brooklyn and Phoenix are the other two opponents on the homestand.
The Hornets do, however, still see the 76ers two more times. The teams will complete their four-game season series within a 31-day stretch.
The 76ers began a four-game trip with a 118-110 loss at Milwaukee on Sunday. They had won nine of 11, including the victory over the Hornets, immediately before that.
The game was the 82nd of Embiid's career, the equivalent of a full season, after he was the club's first-round pick in 2014. He has averaged 22.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in those games, with the 76ers going 44-38.
Howard, the NBA's active leader in blocks and rebounds, was the first pick of the 2004 draft by Orlando. He averaged 12.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in his first 82 games, with the Magic going just 36-46.
The 82nd game was not a stellar one for Embiid on Sunday. He had seven of the 76ers' season-high-tying 26 turnovers, which the Bucks turned into 36 points.
"We may have tried to overdose trying to post Joel," 76ers coach Brett Brown said afterward. "(The Bucks) turned him over and we kind of slowed down."
Embiid began the week fifth in the NBA in turnovers per game at 3.9. Teammate Ben Simmons was next at 3.6.
The 76ers lead the NBA in turnovers at 17.3 per game. The Hornets, meanwhile, have the league's third-lowest average (12.6).
Updated March 5, 2018