Pre-Game Report: Kobe Looks to Surpass Shaq in Philadelphia

Los Angeles Lakers (14-10) at Philadelphia 76ers (17-7)
4:00 PM PST, February 6, 2012
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Radio: 710 AM (English), 1330 AM (Spanish)

76ers Projected Starting Line-Up:
PG: Jrue Holiday
SG: Jodie Meeks
SF: Andre Iguodala
PF: Lavoy Allen
C: Spencer Hawes

Key Reserves: G Louis Williams, F Thaddeus Young

After much frustration on Saturday night against the Jazz, the Lakers move on to Philadelphia to oppose the 76ers. This game will be the third of a six-game road trip that sees the Lakers visit Boston, New York, and Toronto. Head coach Mike Brown was ejected for the first time as the head coach of the Lakers and could face a suspension if the league deems it appropriate. However, the fire in his eye’s is expected to translate to the court as this “old and slow” team looks to get back on the winning track. Tonight, the Lakers’ 5th ranked defense will take on the top defense in the league.

Frontcourt: Sixers veteran forward Elton Brand sat out in Philadelphia’s victory at Atlanta on Saturday night. He remains questionable for tonight’s contest and will be a game-time decision. Should he miss his second game, Lavoy Allen will more than be ready to make his case to take minutes. Allen is a rookie out of Temple, who is shooting 58 percent from the field in his last three games, one of which he scored 15 points against the Bulls in 26 minutes played. Then there is Andre Iguodala, who simply does it all for the Sixers. Against the Pistons last week, he contributed his eighth-career double-double, scoring 10 points with 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. His assists and rebounds are up this season as he has helped to lead Philadelphia to a three-and-half game lead over the Celtics in the Atlantic division. Finally, the Sixers have Spencer Hawes down center. Hawes is one game removed from missing 10 games with a strained left achilles. Spencer scored 14 points in 32 minutes in his return. Hawes was having a career year, averaging career-highs in rebounds (8.8) and blocks (1.7).

Backcourt: In college, Jodie Meeks flew under the radar until his Junior season at Kentucky, when he got a hold of the scoring load including a 54-point game against rival Tennessee. Still, he was drafted in the second round, and then traded eventually to Philadelphia. His running-mate Jrue Holiday on the other hand was the top overall recruit in the nation before attending UCLA. A disappointing freshman season did not stop him from going to the NBA and getting drafted by the Sixers with the 17th pick in the first round of the 2009 draft. The duo combines for 23 points per game and about seven assists. Together, they are a defensive nightmare. They then give way to Louis Williams, a natural scorer, who is averaging 15 points per game off of the bench.

Fun Facts:

  • The Lakers lead the overall series against the Sixers by a margin of 138-128.
  • Kobe needs just 23 points to surpass Shaquille O’Neal for fifth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. He has scored 28,573 points in his career.
  • The Sixers have not scored 100 points in regulation in 13 straight games. They are 8-4 in that stretch.

Keys to a Laker Victory:

Do Not Fall Behind
The Lakers will be tested against this stingy Sixers’ team. If Philadelphia can string together a few baskets, the game will get out of reach quick.

Play Slower
Perhaps for one night, the Lakers’ being labeled as an old, slow team will be beneficial to them. The Sixers are missing a key player in Elton Brand, and have another that may be close to healthy, but is still raw. With two seven-footers, there is no excuse for being outplayed.

Ride the Fire
Coach Brown fought for his team. Now it’s team for the team to fight for it’s coach. A big win on the road against one of the NBA’s top teams can help ignite the team towards a long win-streak.

Prediction: Lakers 91, 76ers 89

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