The Los Angeles Lakers are back home after a four-game road trip that ended with a win over the Phoenix Suns. ESPN is putting a spotlight on two of the most interesting young cores in the league with the Philadelphia 76ers stopping by STAPLES Center.
This is going to be quite the experience, with full national attention on watching Lonzo Ball and Ben Simmons on the floor together for the first time. Toss in Joel Embiid, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, and you’ve got one star-studded young cast.
We won’t be seeing Markelle Fultz, who is out with a shoulder injury. We also probably won’t be seeing Jahlil Okafor, who’s appeared in just two games this season. The 76ers and Okafor are on the outs, but as the franchise moves on without him, he’s found himself stuck in place.
Embiid figures to be the biggest problem for the Lakers, averaging 20.9 points and 10.;8 rebounds per game. Brook Lopez has been a surprisingly stout defender this season for the Lakers, and he’ll be relied on moving all over the court to deal with Joel. This could also be where Julius Randle comes in to get physical with Embiid, which is an experiment we’ll likely see at least once tonight.
This should be a fast-paced game between two young cores. Simmons has been phenomenal, averaging 17.8 points, 9.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game. If you haven’t had a chance to watch him play yet (I haven’t!), this should be an interesting one.
It’s also worth noting that, for the first time in an eternity, these two franchises are competing for something aside from lottery night odds. The 76ers have reloaded their roster and are starting to hold their own in the Eastern Conference, while the Lakers (don’t have their draft pick anyway) are thinking onward and upward themselves.
The Sixers are 7-6 to start the year despite Fultz missing all but four games. Prepare for the hot takes tonight and tomorrow morning with ESPN playing host!
Time: 7:30 p.m. PT