The Los Angeles Lakers took on the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night looking to build some momentum off their win against the Brooklyn Nets, although they had to do so without LeBron James.
James missed the game due to minor knee soreness and will be considered day-to-day moving forward. The Lakers missed him dearly as other than Anthony Davis, they struggled offensively and lost 105-87 as a result.
In what was a bit of a surprise, the Lakers started a bit small with Davis at center and Malik Monk in place of LeBron James. That led to six early points for Joel Embiid, who has been on a tear as of late, and an early 12-8 deficit for L.A.
Davis himself got going early as well with eight points of his own, but the Lakers still trailed 18-14 midway through the quarter.
The Lakers scored four straight to tie it out of the break, although they then had trouble guarding the 3-point line with the 76ers making three in a row from deep, two by former Laker Danny Green, to take their first double-digit lead of the night. They went on to maintain that margin through the end of the quarter, leading 32-22.
Without James, someone had to pick up the scoring load for the Lakers, and for a stretch, it was Carmelo Anthony as he knocked down a couple of midrange jumpers and a layup.
Davis missed some time after being hit in the wrist by Embiid but was able to return midway through the second quarter. He seemed to be feeling no ill-effects of the wrist as he scored four straight points for L.A. after returning to get the Lakers within six.
That high level of play for Davis continued through the end of the half and it helped the Lakers get back in the game as he had 23 points going into the halftime locker room with L.A. trailing 54-48.
The Lakers started off the second half well with four straight points, although they then got careless with the ball with a couple of silly turnovers, leading to a 6-0 run by the 76ers.
Despite not getting too much help from his teammates, Davis continued to keep the Lakers in the game with his two-way play. In the third quarter, he had a putback dunk over Embiid and then came up with a big block on him on the other end of the floor.
When Davis hit the bench, the Lakers’ deficit ballooned to 20 at the end of the third quarter as the 76ers continued to stay hot from three with Embiid also getting to the free-throw line at will.
Westbrook and Anthony both hit three at the beginning of the fourth quarter to cut it to 16, forcing a Philadelphia timeout. Out of the timeout, Westbrook and Davis both got open buckets at the rim in transition, although Tobias Harris responded with a floater to stop the bleeding a bit.
That was as close as the Lakers would get as the 76ers re-established their lead to 20 midway through the fourth, putting an end to any hopes of a comeback.
The lone positive of the night for the Lakers though was the play of Davis in just his second game back from injury. He finished with 31 points, 12 rebounds, two steals and three blocks on an efficient 14-of-21 shooting, getting the better of Embiid most of the night.
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