Philadelphia facing unpleasant future


PHILADELPHIA -- Past and future did a delicate dance at the Spectrum Thursday night, and the Charlotte Hornets came away looking into a rosy tomorrow.

The 76ers, 123-116 losers in overtime, are probably thinking more about their yesterdays.

Having now lost four straight and six of their last seven,the Sixers, while still hanging around for the moment, are decided long shots even to make the playoffs this season. They hit the road soon, and history suggests the road will hit back.

"It's a very inopportune time to lose four straight, especially of the variety we have. All of them have been winnable games," said coach Jim Lynam. "With the stretch of scheduling we have coming up, you must win your home games."

The Sixers, bumbling along at seven games below .500, are 20-15 at home. They have assured themselves of their worst home record in 17 seasons. Not since a 20-21 mark at the Spectrum in the 1974-75 season have the Sixers been this pitiful at home.

And it's not as if they didn't have motivation against the Hornets, beyond even the obvious playoff situation. Charlotte embarrassed the Sixers by winning by 52 points three weeks ago. That alone should have given the Sixers cause to put the upstarts in their place.

But Charlotte has not been so easily dismissed of late. Led by Larry Johnson, who is making a strong rush for the Rookie-of-the-Year award, the Hornets have now won 14 of their past 19.

They certainly impressed the Sixers Thursday night. Their clinging defense and young legs forced the Sixers into 21 turnovers.

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