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Sixers spoil LeBron’s passing of Kobe, defeat Lakers 108-91

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 108-91 Saturday night. The Sixers improve to 30-17 on the season, while the Lakers sit at 36-10. Anthony Davis was the high man in a losing effort with 31 points. LeBron James’ 29 points helped him pass Kobe Bryant on the all-time scoring list. For the Sixers, Ben Simmons stood out as a difference maker in the win with 28 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 steals.

First Half

The Sixers came out of the gate hot on both sides of the floor, dropping 35 points in the opening frame and giving the Lakers problems on the other end. Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle had two steals a piece. Al Horford was tasked with guarding Anthony Davis, and he was doing a commendable job.

Then, Horford left the floor and Anthony Davis started going to work. But just as the Lakers were closing in, Furkan Korkmaz splashed a deep three to regain momentum, rousing up the Wells Fargo Center. To add to the atmosphere, Kyle Kuzma and Ben Simmons seemed to be going at it a bit, and Ben was only getting more fired up.

The Sixers finished the opening quarter up 10, 35-25, after shooting 66.7% from the floor (54.5% from 3PT) and forcing 9 turnovers.

After his first breather of the game, LeBron James re-entered the contest in the 2nd quarter looking to surpass Kobe Bryant for 3rd on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The Sixers would hold off LBJ’s milestone for the half, as well as the Lakers. After lots of whistles, turnovers (from both teams), and basketball plays ending with LeBron James throwing his hands in the air with indignation, the Sixers went into halftime with the lead, 59-50.

Second Half

The Lakers opened the 2nd half looking to post up Anthony Davis, at one point going to Davis against Horford in the post three consecutive plays. While Davis assisted a cutting LeBron on one of those plays, Horford was adamant about denying Davis a comfortable look, with Davis passing out once and going 0-2 on his shots. For a while, LA couldn’t find offense any where else either. Through the first five minutes of the 2nd half, the Lakers managed just 4 points. However, two of those points were historic. At about the 7:10 mark of the 3rd quarter, LeBron converted a layup to pass Kobe Bryant on the all-time scoring list.

Tobias Harris had some of his own scoring to do. By the end of the 3rd quarter, Harris accumulated 25 points on 17 shots. Ben Simmons wasn’t far behind with 22 points on just 11 attempts. Their play powered the Sixers to a 12-point lead heading into the final quarter, 85-73.

The early part of the 4th quarter was mostly a back and forth with neither team closing the gap or pulling away. Then a LeBron James open court slam brought the building back down to earth a bit. Clearly, LeBron the Lakers weren’t quite ready to pack it in. A few sloppy possessions went by and suddenly, Brett Brown was calling timeout to keep a 5-point lead from dwindling any further.

Following the timeout, Al Horford, the ol’ trusty vet, stepped up when the Sixers needed him most. Horford had two monster jumpers, a two and a three, to put the Sixers back up 10 with less than four minutes. Philly never looked back, pulling away to a 15-point lead by the time the starters were pulled (55.5 seconds remaining).

Ben Simmons (28 points) and Tobias Harris (29 points) carried the offensive load for the Sixers, combining for 57 points on 35 shots. Al Horford came up big when it counted. The Sixers executed defensively to overcome 21 turnovers and limit the now 36-10 Lakers to 91 points.

Notes

  • Shake Milton got the spot start tonight with Josh Richardson out. I don’t recall him standing out in anyway. That’s... not necessarily bad?
  • Zhaire Smith played two minutes in the 1st quarter and didn’t seem like he was ever able to settle in. He didn’t touch the court again after that.
  • I thought Raul Neto had a solid 18 minutes aside from trying at one point to drive on Anthony Davis and slip a floater over his head, which was immediately sent into the hardwood. He was frisky on defense and drained a pair of threes, didn’t try to do too much for the most part.
  • Garbage time lineup: Neto-Burke-Milton-Scott-Bolden.
  • On the halftime show, Rachel Nichols called the Wells Fargo Center the ‘Wells Fargo Arena’.
  • The Philadelphia Phillies new skipper Joe Girardi was in attendance.