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Los Angeles Lakers lose to Philadelphia 76ers to start the new year; 103-99

The Los Angeles begin 2013 with a disheartening loss. Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard struggled, and despite a 4th quarter battle, it was too little too late.

Dwight Howard doing his best Kwame Brown impression. Uncanny.
Dwight Howard doing his best Kwame Brown impression. Uncanny.

The 15-15 Lakers began the new year looking every bit their record: average. The Philadelphia 76ers outplayed the Lakers who looked sapped of all energy in their first game of 2013. Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol were ice cold, the Lakers couldn't hit an outside jumper, and despite making an effort in the fourth quarter and raising the hopes of the millions.... *deep breath* and millions... of the Lakers fans throughout the world it was too little, too late. A familiar theme throughout this 2012-2013 season. Final score in this drag of a game; 103-99.

Happy New Year.

While it was only a four point loss, those four points are awfully kind to the Lakers, who played like they were just thrown off the fiscal cliff. The Lakers defense showed up late to the party; holding the Sixers to only 22 points in the fourth. The other three quarters of lackluster decision making and effort were simply too much to overcome while the offense sputtered along.

A four point loss while going 3-22 from distance (13.6%), and missing 11 free throws. Is it good that it was only four points, or pathetic that those are actual stats? A little bit of both? Apathetic, much like the Lakers were throughout the majority of the night? Dwight Howard went 1-7 from the field (7 points, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks), Pau Gasol went 2-12 (11 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists), yet the Lakers only lost by four while Kobe Bryant lifted all he could (14-29 for 36 points, 6 rebounds).

Is this good, or bad? Are the Los Angeles Lakers coming, or going? Is Dwight finally looking healthy, or is he barely able to move? Is Pau's ability to rebound and make plays enough to make his inconsistent ability to simply get buckets negligible? Same Lakers, same questions, different year?

Evan Turner cooked the Lakers in isolation scoring 22 points on 8-14 shooting while grabbing a team high 13 rebounds. Jrue Holiday, who missed the teams prior meeting, blasted the Lakers for 26 points and 10 assists. Spencer Hawes made big buckets down the stretch to keep the Lakers at bay. Lavoy Allen even got in on the "block Dwight Howard party". Things went right for the Sixers while things went wrong for the Lakers, and a four point loss is to show for it.

The season is now 31 games old for the Lakers. 37.8% complete. They're just beginning to play with Steve Nash, they're still awaiting the Back Fairy to visit Dwight Howard and fix all of those nagging inconsistencies in his game (he was blocked four times tonight), and after three days of rest the Lakers played like they were on a back-to-back-to-back from last season's condensed schedule. Next up, the Clippers on Friday. That should be fun.

Full recap in the morning.

Final - 1.1.2013 1 2 3 4 Total
Philadelphia 76ers 28 26 27 22 103
Los Angeles Lakers 25 25 23 26 99

Complete Coverage >

- Drew

- Follow this author on Twitter @BallReasons

- The Liberty Ballers blog is probably celebrating and stuff, ringing in a new year with a win.

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