A win over a Philadelphia 76ers team missing its two stars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid isn’t going to change anyone’s opinion of the Los Angeles Lakers, but a win is better than a loss, and the Lakers’ 120-107 victory let the team split the season series with Philly, 1-1.
The Lakers appeared to be sleepwalking to start the game, and trailed by as much as 13 points. But then a switch seemed to flip. The team locked in on defense, with Anthony Davis leading the charge on several length-of-the-court, defense to offense attacks that showed off his impressive handles. He scored 18 in the quarter, and the Lakers went on a 22-4 run to end the half.
The Lakers continued to pour it on in the third quarter, but some hiccups to start the fourth allowed the Sixers to cut the lead to as little as 9 points, forcing LeBron James to come back in after it appeared there was a chance he’d get to rest the remainder of the night.
However, that was as far as things got, because some continued strong defense from Davis — who finished the night with 37 points, 13 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 blocks and a couple of jaw-dropping moves off the dribble — led to a nearly four-minute scoring drought for Philadelphia, while the Lakers did just enough offensively to pull away with a win.
In addition to Davis’ transcendent performance, James was also exemplary, hitting some truly insane long-range attempts to end the evening with 22 points, 14 assists and 7 rebounds in another near triple-double.
The Lakers have now won their second game in a row, and boosted their record to 47-13. They will now get two days off before their next test on Friday, when they’ll host the Milwaukee Bucks for their second and final matchup of the season. We’ll see if they can get the type of win over a true contender that they’ve been searching for.