The (35-11) Los Angeles Lakers are in Philadelphia to face the (15-30) 76ers at the Wachovia Center.
Upon arriving in the city of brotherly love, you have to have an authentic Philly Cheesesteak. I’d suggest heading to the intersection of Ninth Street & Passyunk Avenue and participate in the city’s Cheesesteak Wars and decide for yourself if Pat’s King of Steaks or if Geno’s Steak’s makes a better Cheesesteak.
Despite the unnecessary hate from the Philly faithful, Kobe Bryant is returning to his childhood home and will drop 26+ points on the 76ers. It’s no mystery that Kobe isn’t a hero in his hometown or receives no love. He has won several games in Philadelphia.
Things could have been vastly different in the history of professional basketball in Philadelphia if someone in the 76’ers front office on June 26th 1996 had the insight or talent evaluation skills of Jerry West; Kobe Bryant would have been the choice instead of Allen Iverson. As a Lakers fan, all I can say is thank you and sorry for your loss.
As their record indicates, the Sixers have struggled all season. Philadelphia is a young team with a lot of talent although being a team that wants to get out in transition, they’ve struggled to run the Princeton offense preferred by Coach Eddie Jordan. The Princeton Offense is a structured one that calls for constant motion, passing, back-door cuts, and disciplined teamwork.
The Sixers have changed their starting lineup, replacing PG Louis Williams and PF Thaddeus Young with PG Jrue Holiday and PF Elton Brand. The Sixers start an undersized backcourt in 6’4″ Jrue Holiday and 6′ Allen Iverson.
Traditional NBA offenses will place a team in an isolation, catch and shoot or pick and roll situation; against this offense there is no standing around. All five guys are constantly moving regardless of which side of the floor the action is on and the Phil Jackson needs to be prepared for it.
The Lakers have to play sound, smart defense and not overextend themselves to open up the passing lanes, take care of the ball. as well as not provide any opportunities for both the A.I.’s to have good nights.
Elton Brand has played a lot better since returning to the starting lineup, he gives the 76ers a legitimate low post presence. One of the goals tonight is to play him straight up and not have to double team him. This is a team that plays aggressive perimeter defense that can cause turnovers which will allow them to get out in transition and run. The Lakers need to jump on this team early, play aggressive on both ends of the court; this will take the crowd out of the game.
The Lakers are seeking a third straight victory over the 76ers in Philadelphia. The Purple and Gold are 3-2 on this road trip after a solid team win against the Pacers. L.A. had a season-high 62 rebounds; the reserves were outscored (39-31) again, but did have an impact.
The trio of Kobe, Andrew and Pau combined to score 77 points, we should see a repeat performance tonight. The Lakers size advantage; defense, rebounding, experience and execution down the stretch will the difference tonight.
Tip-off: 4:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Philadelphia: Comcast SportsNet (Marc Zumoff & Steve Mix)
- Los Angeles: ESPN 710 AM (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Philadelphia: 610 WIP (Tom McGinnis)
- Kobe Bryant (Avulsion fracture of index finger, Elbow & Back)
- Sasha Vujacic (Strained Right Hamstring)
- Luke Walton (Pinched Nerve, back)
- None to report.