On Allen Iverson Once A Year Obligatory Celebration Night, the Sixers decided to show up like they were AI at an old Fan Appreciation Night: slightly late, never really into the whole thing, and having to issue an apology to an entire nation in the aftermath. The Lakers opened the game on a 13-0 run and kept the Sixers at arms-length for the entire game for an 11 point victory, 100-89.
For the Lakers, Julius Randle dominated each Sixer posed with defending him, finishing with 25 points on 13 shots, too quick for Okafor and too powerful for Dario Saric and Ersan Ilyasova. Lou Williams continued his tremendous season with 18 points off the bench to keep the lead. Larry Nance had 11 rebounds and kept several possessions alive with his rebounding and energy.
The Sixers were led by 15 relatively inefficient points by Joel Embiid. The inefficiency, while bad, is okay given he was significantly more involved on offense than in Wednesday’s loss to Toronto. Despite passing up multiple potential threes, Embiid took 14 shot attempts and got to the line four times (missing an uncharacteristic five times in eight attempts) in his allotted 28 minutes. Just as not-bashful was Robert Covington, who took 16 shots and missed 10, including all six threes which led to sustained boos from the home crowd.
The restlessness from the sellout crowd, and the inability for either team to get into rhythm after the 13-0 start, was the story of the game. Officiated inconsistently, and with both teams playing poorly, neither team could sustain anything that looked like good basketball. The Lakers had lost eight consecutive games, while the Sixers are trying to integrate mismatched pieces on the fly, and it showed throughout. It was miserable to watch.
- Sixers veterans continue to show that spending money on free agents for the sake of spending money on free agents isn’t prudent.
- The coaching staff made adjustments to how Okafor and Embiid played together, using Okafor more as a hypothetical 4 and Embiid as a hypothetical 5. Okafor was the recipient of most of Randle’s damage, so it didn’t all go well. But Embiid was much more involved today on offense as part of 1/5 pick play action and in the post when sharing the floor with Okafor, and Okafor continues to show that he can be a dominant offensive player when matched up with smaller defenders.
- Put simply, Okafor playing the four among larger starting lineups and the five against reserves is his best role right now. He was largely featured in that role, scoring 14 on 4/7 from the floor while hitting all six free throw attempts.
- The Sixers ran the elevator doors play once in the fourth quarter. They were trying to run the doors for Joel Embiid. The Sixers were called for an offensive foul, because that elevator needs to open wide, and it’s hard to close.
- Nerlens Noel played eight minutes, all in the first half, and was a healthy scratch in the second. The Sixers played Saric at center for three minutes in the third quarter.
- Brandon Ingram - the number two overall pick in June - shot just 1-8 for the Lakers in 21 minutes. Despite that, the Lakers improve to 11-18, improving their odds for giving up their pick to Philadelphia this summer but making it a worse selection, in all likelihood.