Getty Images | Photo By Jeff Gross

Happy New Year to The Lakers Nation! Have a safe celebration!

The (22-10) Los Angeles Lakers are back at Staples Center tonight, on New Years Eve, to host the (13-19) Philadelphia 76ers.

A rare thing happened in the Lakers back-to-back road game against the Hornets. The Purple and Gold faithful saw something familiar, a glimpse of their team playing Lakers basketball. They emphatically ended their three-game losing streak by beating the Hornets, 103-88. They returned to the basics against the Hornets and ran their offense from the inside out.

Andrew Bynum made his first start of the season and responded with 18 points, six boards and one blocked shot. Pau Gasol posted a double-double with 11 points and 12 boards. These occurrences served as definitive proof that when the ball goes inside and the post players are allowed to contribute; the Lakers are a difficult team to beat.

Lamar Odom was the player of the game, returning to his familiar role of coming off of the bench and leading the second unit. Odom posted 24 points, five rebounds and two assists. He’s 24-points were the most by a Lakers player coming off the bench since Tierre Brown had 27 in Feb. 7, 2005.

Things haven’t returned to normal for the Lakers, there is a lot of work to do. Fortunately for the Lakers, they’ve reached a set of home games on the schedule that should allow them to right the ship.

The Sixers are a dangerous team, since starting the season 3-13, the Sixers have gone 9-6. The Sixers are coming off of a 123-110 road win over the Suns. Philadelphia played their most complete game of the year with Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Andrews Nocioni posting 20+ point nights.

This is a dangerous game due to the fact that the Lakers are seeking consistency. The Sixers are without their star player; we all remember what happened the last time a depleted team came into Staples Center. The new Lakers home winning streak starts tonight.

The Lakers beat the Sixers by 12-points on the road holding Philadelphia to 81 points; bettering the previous series low which was 82 points, that was set on Christmas Day of 2002.

The Lakers had success running the offense through the post against the Hornets. They aren’t out of the woods yet. One successful game doesn’t mean that they’ve turned things around. They have to continue to run their offense through the post and continue to use excellent ball movement and excellent player movement to find a high percentage shot. Their activity level has to increase and the team has to play at a quicker pace.

The Sixers are a young athletic team that wants to run. Defensively the Lakers need to stop the dribble penetration of the guards, play solid screen and roll defense, get back in transition, shut down the painted area, and quickly rotate out to open shooters.

The two key adjustments of Andrew Bynum starting &andLamar Odom coming off of the bench provided the desired effect. The Lakers need to have the second unit provide a burst of energy and change the pace of the game. For the Lakers, it’s all about their defense, energy and execution.

Starters
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, A. Bynum and P. Gasol
Sixers:
J. Holiday, J. Meeks, A. Nocioni, E. Brand, S. Hawes

Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST

Television

  • Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
  • Philadelphia: Comcast SportsNet (Marc Zumoff & Steve Mix)

Radio

  • Los Angeles: ESPN 710 AM (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Philadelphia: 610 WIP (Tom McGinnis)

Injuries

Lakers:

  • Theo Ratliff ( Left Knee) Out
  • Andrew Bynum (Right Knee) Probable

Sixers:

  • SG Andre Iguodala (Tendinitis in his Right Achilles) Listed as Day-to-Day