The Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday night looking to build off Thursday night’s win over the Phoenix Suns.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton decided to make some changes to his starting lineup, as he inserted center Ivica Zubac and shooting guard David Nwaba into the starting lineup for Tarik Black and Nick Young.
Nwaba was the oldest member in the starting lineup at 24, with all of the other Lakers starters being 22 or younger.
The Lakers jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, but Gerald Henderson answered with a three to get the 76ers on the scoreboard.
With the Lakers leading 6-3, Philadelphia went on a 10-2 run and opened up a 13-8 lead midway through the first quarter.
Los Angeles struggled defensively for most of the first quarter, as the 76ers shot almost 60 percent in the quarter and were 4-of-7 from three-point land.
Their lead made up to 11 on two separate occasions, but the Lakers closed the quarter on a 6-0 run and trailed by just five at the end of the first quarter, 32-27.
Newly acquired point guard Tyler Ennis made an impact on the offensive end to begin the second quarter, as he had five points and two assists in the first three minutes of the quarter. He completed an and-one to tie the game up at 38.
He then drained a three on the next possession to give him eight points in the game, and the Lakers regained the lead at 41-40. Dario Saric also drained a quick three on the other end though so the lead didn’t last long.
Philadelphia wanted to get out in transition and a couple Laker turnovers helped them do that, as a steal led to a layup by Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, giving the 76ers a 54-47 lead.
In his first career start Zubac had an extremely productive first half on both ends of the floor, as he had four blocks on defense. He converted an and-one on the offensive end and another floater to tie the game up at 60 giving him nine points in the half.
After both teams exchanged threes, Shawn Long drilled two free throws to put the 76ers up two. Clarkson answered with a scoop layup though and the game was tied at 65 at the end of the first half.
Saric led all scorers with 16 points, while Clarkson led three Lakers in double figured with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Ingram and Randle were not far behind with 10 points apiece.
The Lakers defensive struggles continued into the third quarter, which is expected from a team playing so many young players at once, but luckily they were able to keep up with the 76ers on the offensive end of the floor and stayed in the game to start the quarter.
Russell drilled a midrange jumper to cut the 76ers lead to 73-72, causing them to use a timeout just two minutes into the third quarter.
Good ball movement out of the timeout led to a wide open three that was converted by Luwawu-Cabarrot, and then the Lakers immediately turned the ball over which led to a layup by Jahlil Okafor.
That 76ers run continued, as the Lakers began to struggle offensively and Philadelphia built their lead up to 84-72 after two free throws by Okafor.
Clarkson, fresh off the bench, attacked the basket and got fouled. He made both free throws to break the 11-0 run. Clarkson continued to do damage at the free throw line, as he made four more, which helped contribute to an 8-0 Laker run to cut the deficit to 84-80.
A poor close to the quarter had the Lakers trailing 93-85 after three quarters.
The 76ers were out of fouls a minute and a half into the fourth quarter, as they picked up four quick fouls. After Clarkson drained a pair and a steal led to a fast break dunk for Corey Brewer the Lakers trailed 96-90.
Clarkson’s strong game continued in the fourth quarter, as a put-back layup brought the Lakers within four at 100-96. Ingram and Nwaba each then drained two free throws to tie the game at 100 with a little over five minutes left.
A nice pass from Russell to a cutting Nwaba led to a wide open dunk giving the Lakers a 104-102 lead, but Okafor scored just as easily on the other end with a layup to tie the game.
After a three by Saric gave Philadelphia a one-point lead, Randle attacked the basket and was fouled. He drained both free throws to give the Lakers the lead momentarily. Saric and Clarkson exchanged layups so the Lakers maintained that one-point lead with under two minutes left.
A nice pass from T.J. McConnell to Saric led to another layup, but Clarkson’s masterful night continued as he once again drove and finished in the paint, causing Philadelphia to call a timeout down by one with just over a minute left.
McConnell hit a fadeaway jumper for his first field goal out of the game out of the timeout giving Philadelphia the lead and putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the Lakers.
Russell didn’t notice the Lakers had shot clock issues out of a timeout though, so he was forced to take a deep three that barely grazed the rim. The game clock was then down to 25 second so the Lakers had to foul to extend the game. They did exactly that and Gerald Henderson knocked down both free throws, so the Lakers trailed by three with 19 seconds to go.
Clarkson immediately attacked the basket and got fouled. He drained the first free throw but was short on the second one, so Philadelphia went back to the free throw line up two looking to put the game away. Luwawu-Cabarrot was able to connect on both of his free throws, so the Lakers looked at an uphill battle down four with 12 seconds left.
Larry Nance Jr. made a corner three to keep the game alive, and after Saric made one of two free throws the Lakers were down two with four seconds left and no timeouts. Randle got the rebound after the missed free throw and pushed the ball up the floor, he got a look from around midcourt as time on the clock expired, but the shot was nowhere close and the Lakers fell 118-116.
Clarkson led all scorers, tying a career-high with 30 points to go along with eight assists and six rebounds. Randle also had a solid performance with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Saric led Philadelphia with 29 points, seven rebounds and five assists while Okafor added 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting.