The Los Angeles Lakers take on the Philadelphia 76ers Friday afternoon, laying down a battle between two teams that have been tanking and banking picks over the past several seasons. Neither team has lifted off just yet, with the Lakers trying to tie their new core together with Luke Walton’s guidance and the 76ers just dabbling into what Joel Embiid is capable of.
An eight-game losing streak has sucked the air out of what was once a breathtaking start to the Lakers’ season for the right reasons, but a chance to beat up on the 6-19 76ers may be the best remedy for that. Considering the Lakers just dropped a game to a six-win team in Brooklyn, though, it’s a far cry from a lock that the purple and gold notch their first win in December Friday night.
Embiid getting on the floor and becoming the NBA’s darling big man has been the huge payoff for a fanbase and organization that’s been steadfast in trusting the process, but with his minutes restriction and on-and-off schedule, it’s still not all systems go just yet. Still, he’s looked the part of No. 1 pick in the 16 games he’s participated in, giving the 76ers plenty of reason to have hope for the future.
Embiid is questionable to play Friday night due to a left knee contusion, while Nerlens Noel is probable following a left ankle sprain.
This could be a showdown between two of the most stacked young cores in the league, but injuries and down years have muddled the potential of what this matchup could be. Try to enjoy this game for what it is, as a trip to Cleveland in the second half of a back-to-back certainly won’t be prettier for the Lakers Saturday night.
Time: 5 p.m. PT
TV: ESPN, Spectrum SportsNet