Just as I predicted, the Sixers managed to avoid what should have been a frontcourt mismatch pummeling. A rotating center trio of Lavoy Allen, Kwame Brown and Spencer Hawes--none of whom are what you'd call imposing on the defensive end, hacked, slashed and bumped their way to survival. The cost was high in personal fouls, both legitimate and otherwise, of which the Sixers committed 22, led by Lavoy Allen's five in only 18 minutes. But the results were significant--Dwight Howard didn't make a field goal until 6:15 remained in the third quarter.
The Sixers pulled out to a 16-5 lead in the first quarter, then let the Lakers back into the game, playing within a couple possessions for most of the first half before pulling out a lead that fluctuated between four and 10 for most of the second half. The Lakers made things interesting late, pulling to within 2 on a Kobe Bryant three-pointer with 1:28 left, but that only allowed substitute announcer Tom McGinnis to reach peak excitement.
Jrue Holiday led all Sixers with 26 points and 10 assists. Evan Turner had 22 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. On the other end, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard combined to shoot 3-for-19 from the floor for a total of 18 points, and while Kobe Bryant scored 36 points on 14-for-29 shooting, he took a couple of hero ball-ish contested jumpers toward the end of the game to stymie the Lakers' comeback.
A more comprehensive recap is to come, but for now, freak out below.