The Sixers kicked off a seven-game homestand by knocking off the Los Angeles Lakers in overtime, 132-122, Friday night — but it was not easy. They blew a 16-point lead with just over four minutes left in the fourth as Anthony Davis led a ferocious comeback.
De’Anthony Melton had a career night, going for 33 points on eight made threes along with seven steals, all of which were career-highs. Joel Embiid used a scorching first quarter to coast to a 38-point night, but the Sixers still found a way to make this win feel... not great.
Here are some instant takeaways from the win.
- Neither team got off to a hot start offensively, but one major positive for the Sixers was getting Anthony Davis in foul trouble. Davis committed three fouls within the first seven minutes of the game, putting him in a precarious position defensively for the rest of the night.
- Man, was Joel Embiid locked in from the start of this one. Embiid himself scored as many points as the Lakers in the first quarter with 20. It was a flashy 20 as well, as he posterized Thomas Bryant, then hit a side step three from the corner as the first was ending. An absolutely preposterous quarter for the big guy as the Sixers got out to an 11-point lead.
What did Joel Embiid just do to Thomas Bryant pic.twitter.com/hU5oAyIU5C— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) December 10, 2022
- He only sat for about three and a half minutes, but those minutes with Embiid on the bench were a complete disaster. The Lakers were able to erase the entire lead during that time. Paul Reed has not been playing his best basketball as of late (who has been). He picked up three fouls and missed a bunny fairly badly.
- The Sixers were perfectly content to sit in the paint on defense and let the Lakers shoot from the outside. It was fairly successful in the first quarter, but the Lakers caught fire in the second. They shot 4-of-7 from deep and 14-of-18 from the field in the second quarter. The Sixers were able to hold a two-point lead into the half by hitting some outside shots of their own. Philly hit five of their last six threes before the half, capped off by this from James Harden.
Oh yeah, James Harden is here to BALL!— NBA (@NBA) December 10, 2022
We've got a fun one on ESPN pic.twitter.com/nJBNTdo4XB
Just a wildly entertaining half of basketball.
- It was quite the third quarter for De’Anthony Melton, who set a new career high in three-pointers with eight on the night and set a season high in points with 33. Melton was a perfect 6-of-6 in the third, with 16 of his 33 coming in the period.
- Melton’s defense was a huge factor in the third as well. Three of his seven steals came during this time, as the Lakers scored just four points in the last 4:40 of the quarter. The Sixers used this run to take a 10-point lead into the fourth.
- Despite Embiid starting the final quarter on the bench, the Sixers started it on a 9-1 run. The Lakers responded by putting Anthony Davis back into the game and reeled off a 11-2 run of their own. Davis singlehandedly kept the Lakers in the game down the stretch, with 21 of his 31 coming in the final period.
- Davis’s hot fourth kept the Lakers in it longer than they should have been. With a nine-point lead and 30 seconds left, the game really looked over. The Sixers crunch-time offense was incredibly sloppy, turning the ball over six times in the last 2:04 of regulation. They also committed the cardinal sin of fouling the shooter on a three with a three-point lead.
- The last two minutes were just a master class in how to blow a lead. The only reason the Lakers didn’t win in regulation is because both Reaves and Davis missed a free throw each. It looked like the Sixers were literally trying to hand the game away. They turned it over 10 times in the fourth quarter.
- After giving the game right back to L.A. in the fourth, James Harden put the game away for the Sixers in OT. It wasn’t just him, as the Lakers were held to just two points in the extra period due to some timely defense, but it was Harden who was able to come up with the baskets Philly needed.
- The Sixers will take the court again Sunday night when they welcome the Charlotte Hornets to town for a 6 p.m. tip off.