The road woes continue for the Lakers. After dropping a tough loss against the Utah Jazz on Saturday, the Los Angeles Lakers (14-11) lost another close one to the Philadelphia 76ers (18-7) Monday evening.
On a night that saw a brilliant first half by Kobe Bryant (24 points in the first half on 8-14 shooting, with four three pointers), who moved into fifth place on the all time scoring list by passing former teammate Shaquille O’Neal, the Lakers once again failed to maintain a lead late in the game and came up short in a 95-90 loss.
The Lakers were up 50-46 at halftime, but Bryant’s performance was the complete opposite in the second half, scoring just four points on 2-12 shooting.
Midway through the fourth quarter the Lakers held a 82-76 lead over the 76ers and looked poised to pull away for a victory built on the solid post play of their big men, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Bynum (20 points, 20 rebounds; eight offensive) and Gasol (16 points, 11 rebounds) dominated the paint, and had several lob plays and creative inside passing between the two of them. Bynum began to play like a true All-Star and dominate the game: grabbing offensive rebounds, getting put backs, altering shots, blocking shots, and pulling down defensive rebounds.
But then, all of that stopped and it went downhill for the Lakers.
The Sixers’ sixth man, Lou Williams, torched the Lakers with several clutch plays and was unstoppable towards the end of the fourth quarter en route to 24 points.
Kobe tried to will the Lakers to victory, but was swarmed defensively, and forced into taking tough shots towards the end of the shot clock on several plays. The Sixers’ defense also made it difficult to get the ball inside to the big guys, mainly Pau Gasol, who was forced far outside of the paint down the stretch.
It was the Sixers’ depth that really won the game, however, as their bench scored more points than their starting unit with 49 points compared to 46 for their starters.
The balanced scoring for Philadelphia was quite impressive, led by Williams’ 24. Jrue Holiday finished with 13 points and six assists; Andre Iguodala with 12 points, five assists; Joe Meeks and Thaddeus Young with nine points apiece; Spencer Hawes with eight points and five assists; Nikola Vucevic and Evan Turner with eight points apiece, and Lavoy Allen with four points.
As for the Lakers, no player outside of the “Big Three” (Bryant, Gasol, and Bynum) reached double figures. Derek Fisher and Metta World Peace combined for 10 points on 4-13 shooting. Of the four reserves who made it on the court, only two produced. Andrew Goudelock scored nice points on 4-6 shooting, and Troy Murphy chipped in with seven points on 3-5 field goals.
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