The (19-7) Los Angeles Lakers are in Philadelphia; for the fifth game of the road trip to face the (10-15) 76ers. The 76ers are 8-5 at the Wells Fargo Center. Both teams come into tonight’s match-up on a three game winning streak.
The Lakers avenged a previous loss to the Pacers by issuing them a much needed beat down. Apparently, the Pacers felt the need to do way too much celebrating after the win, their first in Los Angeles in years.
Indiana had to pay for their transgressions. The defending champions went into Conseco Fieldhouse with revenge on their minds and dominated the Pacers from start to finish in the re-match.
The Lakers played with energy, focus and with a sense of urgency. They appeared to be returning to a bit of normalcy or very close to it. It’s a known fact, that when they decide that they’re going to take an opponent seriously by focusing on both ends of the court and executing at a high level; that the Lakers Nation is accustomed to seeing, they’re very close to being impossible to beat.
The Lakers swept the season series with the 76ers last season. The Purple and Gold have won their last three games in Philadelphia although the squad is 3-7 in their last 10 match-ups.
It’s a known fact that despite being the best player on the planet, Kobe Bryant receives some unnecessary hate from the Philly faithful. Things were a little different on Thursday, he returned to his childhood home for a gymnasium dedication ceremony.
The five-time NBA champion, Lower Merion High School’s most famous alumnus was touched by the honor of having the school’s new gymnasium named after and dedicated to him.
The 76ers are a young team that is starting to understand what is expected of them from Head Coach Doug Collins. Collins formula for winning is simple: play solid team defense, share the wealth on offense and take care of the ball. Their dilemma tonight is that they’re playing the two-time defending champions.
Kobe Bryant will set the tone early playing the role of facilitator early getting his teammates going, score early in the second half and don the closer hat late. The 76ers will task Andre Iguodala with defending Kobe, but like several other previous opponents he will need help.
Philadelphia doesn’t have enough big players to deal with the Lakers size and length. The Lakers defense, energy, focus and execution will be too much for the young 76ers. The Lakers need to jump on the 76ers early, get a lead and take the crowd out of the game.
The Purple and Gold need to extend their defense and pressure the ball, employ active hands to defect passes or force a turnover, and use their defense to create offense for them. Also, yhey have to stop the dribble penetration of former UCLA Bruin Jrue Holliday, defend the screen and roll play, get back in transition and quickly rotate out to open shooters.
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)
- Theo Ratliff ( Left Knee) Out
- Andrew Bynum (Right Knee) Probable
- C Tony Battie (Flu) Listed as Day-to-Day