My father asked if the Lakers had a game tonight.
Against Philly, I told him, with one of the worst records in the league.
Still, he responded the only way a Laker fan would these days – with a sign of the cross.
1-13 – That was the Philadelphia 76ers’ road record going into tonight’s game. They are the worst team defensively, and currently sit in the 27th spot in the standings. For some teams, they’re a dream opponent to get an easy win, but as we’ve learned this season, no such thing exists for this Laker team.
The game started out well enough for the home team. They were up 12-2 just three minutes into the first quarter. The Lakers are great at getting off to a good start. It’s everything that comes after that seems to be an issue, because nine minutes later, it’s 22-20 after an 18-10 Sixers run to end the first.
The lead toggled back and forth 11 times throughout the night, but a flurry of turnovers by the Lakers combined with their inability to score consistently to close cost them a 111-104 loss.
Adding insult to injury – Xavier Henry left after the first quarter and never returned to the game.
Jordan Hill – 18 points, 6-9 from the free throw line, 13 rebounds, one steal and one block for Hill tonight. It’s the type of game he should have every night, and for every reason known to give this Laker team any hope of winning any game. He may not have shot well from the field – just 6-14 – but he knows where his scoring opportunities lie and capitalizes on them.
Shawne Williams – Save for a three-point attempt that he missed at the end of the game, at Williams did SOMETHING tonight, which he doesn’t do often. 11 points and 10 rebounds – a double-double.
Point Guard Play – Jordan Farmar is still rounding into form after being out with the torn hamstring and Kendall Marshall is still new, but they showed how much better off this team is when there’s someone running the offense on the floor. Farmar shot just 3-11 for his eight points, but he also handed out eight assists. Marshall went 3-5 from the field, including 2-3 from behind the arc and he handed out a trio of dimes.
Nick Young – He led the game with 26 points. The field goal percentages weren’t impressive – just 2-11 from three and 6-21 overall, plus he had six turnovers – but 26 points is still 26 points, and with the Lakers shooting under 40% tonight, they needed every bit of Young’s offense to lose by just seven (how sad was that statement?).
On Repeat – How many different ways is there to say that the Lakers turn the ball over too much, they can’t sustain their defense and they need to rebound more? They had 22 turnovers which turned into 27 Sixers points, 18 fastbreak points. The Lakers kept their opponents to just two points in the first three minutes of the game, and then allowed them to shoot 52% in the second quarter and every quarter that followed had the Sixers at a better FG% than the Lakers. They outrebounded Philadelphia 55-49 for the game and had 18 offensive rebounds, but allowed the Sixers 17 offensive boards which contributed to 16 second chance points.
Xavier Henry – Henry played just over four minutes in the first quarter, but headed to the locker room before the second quarter began and never returned to game action. He’s said to have a strained right knee and will have an MRI Monday morning to be sure.
The Lakers played another game without Pau Gasol in the line-up; still suffering from an upper respiratory infection. Now Henry could be added to that list of inactive players. Next up are the worst team in the league, Milwaukee Bucks, on New Year’s Eve. There’s a loss the Lakers really don’t want going into 2014.