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Sixers-Hornets observations: Robert Covington’s best game of the season, defense is improving

Markelle Fultz is getting more comfortable and Ben Simmons is a walking stat collector.

Markelle Fultz splits between the Hornets' Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bismack Biyombo to pass during the Sixers' win on Saturday.
Markelle Fultz splits between the Hornets' Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bismack Biyombo to pass during the Sixers' win on Saturday.Read moreELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer

The 76ers beat the Charlotte Hornets 105-103 on Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center.

Here are my main takeaways and best and worst awards:

Five observations

–  Sixers coach Brett Brown was right: Robert Covington did play his best game of the season. He knocked down three pointers and had a hand in Kemba Walker missing 20 of his 31 shots attempts. The Sixers could live up to their preseason hype if Covington can become a more consistent three-and-d threat.

Ben Simmons is a walking stat collector. The Sixers point guard had his worst shooting performance (5 of 20) of the season and looked out of sync. But you wouldn't know that by the stat sheet. Simmons posted his fourth double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds) of the season by being a terror on the boards.

– Markelle Fultz is getting more comfortable. The combo guard gave the Sixers quality production and had a few highlight moves to the basket in transition.  His best moment came when he spun past Miles Bridges at the foul line and finished with a left-handed finger roll over Marvin Williams and a charging Cody Zeller in the second quarter.

– The Sixers may be showing some improvement on defense. That's because the team made the Hornets work for everything in the second half. They also appeared to have better communication and guys didn't look lost like in previous games.

Joel Embiid's decision to play one day after rolling his left ankle is not surprising. After missing his first two seasons with foot surgeries, the Sixers center will do whatever it takes to get on the court.

Best and worst

Best performance: This was a tough one, because Walker had 37 points and Embiid finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds. But I had to give this to Covington for his all-around game. The small forward made a game-high four three-pointers in seven attempts. He finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and a season-high four blocked shots.

Worst performance: Malik Monk gets this one. The Hornets reserve guard had four points while missing seven of his eight shot attempts.

Best defensive performance: This goes to the Covington.

Worst statistic: The Hornets hit 1-of-7 three pointers in the third quarter.

Best statistic: The Sixers made 4-of-5 three-pointers in the first quarter.