Now that the trade deadline has come and gone, the focus shifts back to basketball and the Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.
Both teams were missing key players, but it was ultimately the 76ers that came away with a 109-101 despite the Lakers making a late comeback attempt. The loss was the fourth straight for the Lakers since LeBron James went down with an injury.
Marc Gasol returned to the lineup after a long absence due to health and safety protocols and had an immediate impact, knocking down a 3-pointer and finding Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for a layup early in the game.
The Lakers were able to get into the bonus early, but the 76ers were able to knock down shots from outside to give them a 15-12 lead.
Defensively, both teams tightened things up as Los Angeles and Philadelphia found little space to operate in their half court sets. The Lakers had issues scoring inside with Dwight Howard manning the paint, and as a result they went into the second trailing 27-24.
Howard was ejected at the end of the first after collecting his second technical foul due to bumping into Montrezl Harrell, opening the floor for the Lakers and allowing them to get into the painted area. Dennis Schroder, in particular, was able to break down the 76ers defense and either score at the rim or draw free throws.
As has been the case without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers experienced another long scoring drought midway through the period that allowed Philadelphia to retake control. Mike Scott was able to drain a pair of threes to push the 76ers’ lead to nine, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope sparked the Lakers in the final minute and the two teams went into the half tied at 54.
It was a sloppy start to the third as L.A. committed two early turnovers while Philadelphia opened up with three consecutive triples. The 76ers remained hot from beyond the arc, capitalizing on weak closeouts from the Laker defenders and eventually extending their lead to double digits.
Los Angeles’ carelessness with the basketball only put them in a deeper hole because it allowed Philadelphia to get transition opportunities. Shake Milton managed to hit a contested three right at the buzzer, and the Lakers found themselves down 89-71 after three.
The Lakers showed some of life atop the fourth as they played with more energy and pace, forcing a timeout from head coach Doc Rivers. Montrezl Harrell did his best to keep Los Angeles afloat, but the team’s defense prevented them from making much of a dent in the deficit.
Even after a Danny Green three that extended the 76ers lead to 12, the Lakers responded with a quick 9-1 run to get back in the game.
The Lakers got as close as three, but Green drilled a contested three, his eighth of the night, to put the game out of reach in the final minute.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!