No one said it could be done. But we all dreamed the impossible dream and the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers tonight, 113-111 in overtime.
The Sixers jumped on the Lakers right out of the gate. Los Angeles, who fielded a roster more obscure than a Bull Buchanan reference, started Shawn Bradley-slow as the Sixers charged to a 28-17 lead after one. JaKarr Sampson opened up the game with a couple of triples, Nerlens Noel did Nerlens things, and Furkan Aldemir knocked down a jump shot. We were partying in the streets. The Lakers weren’t quite the Washington Generals, but they did seem more interested in grabbing a bite at Chickie & Pete’s at Terminal C before their flight home. Get the crab fries, Jordan. Always get the crab fries.
But it’s the NBA, and everyone makes a run. Even the Fightin’ Robert Sacres. The Lakers outscored the Sixers 34-22 in the second quarter; exploiting more holes than Bob Durst’s defense case. Ryan Kelly (16 points; 7 boards) and Jordan Clarkson (26 points, 9-15 shooting; 11 assists; 6 rebounds) paced the Lakers attack.
The third quarter was more of the same for the Sixers. The shooting – good god the shooting – was a smorgasbord of misses. What’s cooler than being cool, Outkast? The Sixers didn’t get their first field goal of the second half until the 7:30 mark of the third quarter. Despite a fun alley-oop from Ish Smith to Nerlens Noel ("The dish from Ish!" h/t to Marc Zumoff), the third quarter was a slog offensively. The Lakers, thanks in part to the efforts of Jabari Brown (22 points; 7-10 shooting), carried a 76-71 lead after three.
But the Sixers roared back with a highlight-filled fourth quarter. Thomas Robinson (13 points; 5 boards) had a violent dunk which sent my dog into a sprinting frenzy. Nerlens Noel had arguably the best block of his NBA career and despite the brutal, brutal foul call, Jordan Hill promptly missed two foul shots because Ball. Don’t. Lie. The 4th quarter was an entertaining affair. Isaiah Cannon (18 points, 3-7 from three, 7-7 from the line) and Bob Covington (12 points; three 3’s, 5 boards, 4 assists) knocked down a few triples to catapult the Sixers back into the lead.
After Covington and Ryan Kelly exchanged threes in the waning moments, the Sixers had the ball with the shot clock off in a tie game. Curiously, the Sixers didn’t hold for the final shot. Nerlens Noel drove to the rack with seventeen seconds left and drew a foul. He converted two foul shots to give the Sixers a 102-100 lead. Jordan Clarkson responded, however, with two free throws of his own and a missed Ish Smith lay-up at the buzzer sent the game into overtime.
The Lakers took an early lead in overtime on the shoulders of four consecutive makes, but the Sixers again clawed their way back. A Nerlens Noel basket tied the game with eleven seconds remaining. On the ensuing possession, however, Philly product, Wayne Ellington, found Jordan Clarkson underneath the basket for the game-winner. The Lakers won in overtime, 113-111.
It was an entertaining game that the Sixers conceded thanks to fifteen missed free throws. But I’m sure you, me, Karl Towns, and Mario Hezonja will all look back and laugh about this someday.
The Sixers travel to Washington on Wednesday.
Rookie of the Year Résumé
Nerlens Noel finished with 19 points, albeit 7-18 shooting, 14 boards, 4 assists, 1 block, 1 steal. 5-10 from the FT line.
Nerlens Noel Playing the Four Experiment
Bigger issue right now isn't that Noel can't defend "pf's" (although it will take adjustment), it's that neither Aldemir of Sims can defend.— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) March 31, 2015
Glenn Robinson III Sighting
GRIII played twenty-five minutes and recorded 8 points (3-8 shooting) and 6 boards.
That Rim Owed Thomas Robinson Money
Thomas Robinson just ended somebody's life (or he dunked on him really hard, take your pick).— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) March 31, 2015
Don't Think Lakers Fans Are Happy
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