A clash of the top team in each conference went in favor of the Philadelphia 76ers, who held off a furious rally from the Los Angeles Lakers. Tobias Harris’ go-ahead basket handed the Lakers a 107-106 loss, their first on the road this season.
In a refreshing change of pace, it was Marc Gasol who started out hot in all facets of the game. He scored or assisted on the Lakers’ first nine points while playing solid defense on Joel Embiid, who was unable to get a shot attempt in the first three minutes.
Despite both the Lakers and 76ers ranking in the top five in defensive rating, it was not the theme early on. Through five minutes, the two conference leaders were tied at 16 while both shooting 7-for-10 from the field.
Things got ugly for the Lakers following the first TV timeout, as the 76ers went on an 18-2 run that spanned the majority of the first quarter. L.A. got ice cold from the field and Embiid asserted his will on the game in any way he chose.
A late push led by LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma helped to close the gap slightly, as the Lakers trailed 34-24 after one.
Due to some early foul trouble and offensive struggles, Talen Horton-Tucker found himself with some early second-quarter minutes. James continued his excellent play from the tail end of the first and helped L.A. close the gap while Embiid rested, making it 39-32.
After essentially trading baskets as the second quarter came to a close, the Lakers trailed 55-51 at halftime. James — coming off a season-high 46 points — looked to be just as locked in with 22 points, five rebounds and three assists. Embiid led the way for the 76ers through the first two quarters with 16 points on 8-of-10 from the free throw line.
It was a subpar result as Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said prior to tipoff that it was emphasized to the team how imperative keeping Embiid off the charity stripe was.
The third quarter began with the 76ers in complete control. A quick 10-0 run in the first two minutes gave them a 65-53 lead, forcing a Vogel timeout. However, the Lakers finally found some rhythm from 3-point range, making two straight after 11 misses to cut their deficit to five.
Midway through the third, James received a Flagrant 1 foul for a hard shove on Embiid while the big man was in the air for a dunk. Embiid made both free throws and would remain in the game despite being in clear pain.
Shortly after, Embiid received his own flagrant foul for an elbow to the face of Anthony Davis. Davis was uninjured on the play, but his struggles from the free throw line would continue as he went 1-for-2.
While the Lakers continued to hang around thanks to Dennis Schroder attacking the basket, they were unable to get any closer than a two-point deficit. Ultimately, the third quarter came to a close and the 76ers held an 81-74 lead.
The fourth quarter was more of the same for the Lakers, as they were caught in a vicious cycle of getting within five points or fewer and then allowing the 76ers to extend the lead back to double digits.
Further hindering L.A.’s chances at a comeback was a stretch that saw Davis and James combine to miss four consecutive free throws. Just when it seamed the Sixers were poised to run away with the game, Alex Caruso, Schroder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each connected on a 3-pointer to pull the Lakers within one with less than a minute remaining.
Their comeback appeared to be complete on a perfect play coming out of a timeout that resulted in a Davis go-ahead layup. However, Harris answered on the other end and the Lakers were left to a Davis heave from halfcourt due to not having any timeouts remaining.
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!