CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kemba Walker had 27 points and 11 rebounds and the Charlotte Hornets moved closer to clinching a playoff spot with a 100-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.
The Hornets started slowly and looked flat and uninspired at times, but it was still enough to beat the lowly Sixers for the second time this week. Charlotte wound up leading by as many as 16 points in the second half.
The Hornets (44-31) have won three straight and five of their last six. Their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is one; they hold a six-game lead over No. 9 Chicago with seven games remaining.
Walker finished 8 of 18 from the field but had four 3-pointers. His 11 rebounds were a season high and one shy of his career high.
The Hornets also got 19 points from Nicolas Batum and 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench from Al Jefferson.
The Sixers (9-67) have lost 11 straight and 24 of their last 25. They need to win one of their final six games to avoid matching the worst record in NBA history.
Hollis Thompson and Jerami Grant led the Sixers with 17 points apiece. Carl Landry scored 16 and Elton Brand had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The teams were tied 25-25 after one quarter. Charlotte led 59-50 at halftime and 81-66 after three quarters. Philadelphia got as close as four at 87-83, but the Hornets then took control again and pulled back away.
NOTES: The Sixers were without F Nerlens Noel (knee), C Joel Embiid (foot), C Jahlil Okafor (knee) and F Richaun Holmes (Achilles). … Hornets coach Steve Clifford was named the Eastern Conference’s coach of the month for March on Friday. The Hornets were 13-3 during March, setting a franchise record for wins in a month. … The Hornets have won all four games between the teams this season, including a 100-85 win at Philadelphia on Tuesday. … Hornets G Jeremy Lin was back after missing Tuesday’s game with a sore back. … The Hornets came into the game in the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference standings, but the bad news is they have already lost tiebreakers to Atlanta, Miami and Boston, who are all jockeying for playoff positioning. … The NBA record for fewest wins in a season is nine, set by the 1972-73 Sixers, who went 9-73. … The Sixers’ last road win came Jan. 20 at Orlando. They have won only three road games all season. … The Sixers will return home to face Indiana on Saturday. … The Hornets will head out on a three-game trip, starting Sunday afternoon at Cleveland.