With the season winding down and everyone focused on whether the Los Angeles Lakers will be able to keep their top-5 protected draft pick, the Lakers took on the Philadelphia 76ers in one of the most important games of the year for both teams.
The Lakers came in on a four-game losing streak and posted a season-low in points in their most recent outing against the Utah Jazz. The Sixers, meanwhile, came in having won their last two games by double-digits. Rookie Nerlens Noel has come on strong lately and could be one of the future building blocks of the Sixers.
The rookies of the Lakers have played well as of late with Tarik Black posting a double-double in their last game and Jordan Clarkson continuing his excellent all-around play. Coming into the game the Sixers had the third-worst record in the NBA at 17-52 while the Lakers had the fourth-worst at 17-50.
Tarik Black gathered an offensive rebound on the Lakers’ first possession which led to a Jordan Hill jumper to give the Lakers a 2-0 lead. Two more offensive rebounds for the Lakers led to a floater from Hill and a quick timeout from the Sixers as the Lakers lead 4-0. A lob from Ish Smith to Nerlens Noel got Philly on the board. Both teams struggled offensively early as midway through the quarter the Lakers lead was only 8-4 following a jumper from Wesley Johnson. Carlos Boozer hit Clarkson for an easy layup, but the Sixers got their own layup from Luc Richard Mbah a Moute to remain down by four. A jumper from Mbah a Moute and a three from Robert Covington gave Philly their first lead of the game, but a Jabari Brown jumper put the Lakers right back in front 14-13. A layup from Jeremy Lin put the Lakers ahead by three, but free throws from Covington tied the game. An alley-oop to Thomas Robinson gave Philly a 20-18 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Back-to-back threes from Covington and Jerami Grant, followed by a jumper from Robinson gave the Sixers a 10 point lead early in the second quarter. A layup from Boozer finally got the Lakers on the board and consecutive threes from Lin quickly brought the Lakers back to within four. The teams traded baskets, but a jumper and a layup from Hill cut the Lakers deficit to four. Hollis Thompson hit a three, but Hill knocked down a jumper as the Lakers remained behind by four points. Another jumper from Thompson and an alley-oop to Noel put Philly back ahead by eight with three minutes left in the half. The teams traded baskets as the Sixers remained ahead by five after a three from Ellington. Noel and Hill traded hook shots to end the half as the Sixers lead 47-41.
Jordan Clarkson got the Lakers going in the second half with a pair of free throws and a layup in transition to quickly get the Lakers within a basket. Jumpers from Johnson and Ellington followed by a layup from Ellington allowed the Lakers to take a three-point lead early in the third. Ish Smith responded with five straight points for the Sixers to put them back in front. The teams traded baskets as Ellington and Johnson knocked down jumpers for the Lakers, but Jason Richardson and Mbah a Moute had threes of their own as the Sixers maintained a three-point lead midway through the quarter. Lin came in the game and got a layup and a beautiful assist to Johnson for a dunk as the Lakers regained a one-point lead. Another three from Mbah a Moute put the Sixers back in front, but a layup from Davis off the Clarkson assist kept things even. Both teams continued to trade points as Isaiah Canaan and Robinson were matched by Lin and Jabari Brown. Lin hit a jumper, but a Robinson tip-in gave Philly a one-point lead at the end of three quarters.
A coast-to-coast Ed Davis dunk brought the crowd to its feet early to start the fourth and a Lin jumper put the Lakers up by three. The Sixers battled back, but the Lakers kept pushing as an Ed Davis block led to a layup from Lin on the other end. Boozer would hit a fadeaway to put the Lakers ahead by five. Davis continued to make his presence felt defensively as he blocked two more shots, helping the Lakers to pull ahead by seven. Two more jumpers from Lin gave the Lakers a double-digit lead midway through the final period. Another Lin jumper gave him a season-high 27 points as the Lakers continued to hold a double-digit lead. Both teams traded baskets with Davis on defense and Lin on offense leading the Lakers down the stretch. Lin hit Davis with a beautiful pass to put the icing on the cake as the Lakers led by 14 with less than two minutes left. The Lakers would end their four-game losing streak with a 101-87 victory over Philly.
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