The Lakers finally got a road win against the lowly Wizards. Tonight they close out their four game road trip in Philly. It will be Kobe’s homecoming to the city where he grew up and that significance will not be lost on him. Expect Kobe to come out firing tonight and ready to put on a show.
The 76ers are without two of their starters: Jrue Holiday and former Laker Andrew Bynum. Hopefully the Lakers can take advantage of this weakness and steal a win in Philadelphia tonight. Let’s jump into the analysis.
Frontcourt: The 76ers are still waiting on Andrew Bynum’s return to the court. In his absence, they are rotating three players in at the center position: Kwame Brown, Lavoy Allen and Spencer Hawes. Brown is pretty much a non factor and Allen is still developing but has shown flashes of potential. Hawes, a one time starter has fully accepted his role off the bench and has managed to stay healthy so far. Either way, Dwight Howard should have the advantage in the post, but the 76ers may resort to fouling him to minimize the damage that could be done. At the four, Thaddeus Young is having a breakout year with 15 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1 block per game. His defensive prowess has really stood out this year and he is showing that he is a complete player. Young will have the speed advantage against any of the Lakers power forwards, but he’s also undersized at 6’8’’.
Backcourt: Starting point guard Jrue Holiday is most likely out for tonight’s contest due to a sprained right foot. It’s unfortunate for the 76ers since Jrue is probably their most valuable player and also logs the most minutes of anyone else on the team. In his place, Evan Turner is taking the reins of the offense. Turner had an impressive game as the starting point guard with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists; however, he had 5 turnovers due to his inexperience at the position. Backcourt mate Jason Richardson is a dangerous outside threat and averages 2.1 threes per game. He’s been in a slump lately having only scored 9 points over the course of the past two games. Former Clipper Nick Young has been recently inserted into the starting lineup at the three and he is never shy about chucking the ball up at the basket. Young had 14 shot attempts in his first start but only converted 4 of them. He’s a streaky shooter who the Lakers need to keep at bay.
Key to Lakers’ Victory:
Defense for 48 Minutes: The Lakers almost had a complete breakdown in the fourth quarter on Friday night against the Wizards but they managed to pull through with the victory. It’s important to note that the Wizards outscored the Lakers 27 to 19 in the fourth. That is pretty alarming given that the Wizards are probably the worst team in the NBA. The Lakers are clearly having issues focusing for an entire 48 minutes which is part of the reason why they sit at 10-14. The Lakers are the perfect example of a rollercoaster team and they exhibit multiple peaks and valleys throughout the course of a game. In order for the Lakers to win tonight, they need to realize that they can’t take a possession off regardless of the score.
Los Angeles Lakers (10-14) at Philadelphia 76ers (12-11)
3:00 PM PST, December 16, 2012
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
TV: TWC Sports Network
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)
76ers Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Evan Turner
SG: Jason Richardson
SF: Nick Young
PF: Thaddeus Young
C: Kwame Brown
Key Reserves: FC: Lavoy Allen C: Spencer Hawes F: Dorell Wright