The Philadelphia 76ers (12-5) took on the Los Angeles Lakers (10-8) to begin a week featuring three tough matchups. To start it, the Sixers got out to a huge lead early and never let it go, winning 138-94.
Let's break down the Sixers' massive win over the Lakers.
Sixers player notes:
Joel Embiid: 30 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, 9-15 FG shooting
Embiid played most of his game in foul trouble but was nonetheless great in just about every facet of the game. He still found an opportunity to smack a shot attempt from Anthony Davis (who put him in foul trouble) as he scored and made plays with incredible regularity. After approaching but not entering triple-double territory in his last game, he got there tonight in just three quarters.
Once again, no fourth quarter was needed for Embiid. Someone who doesn’t know as well might not have guessed that one of the best defenders and big men in basketball was his opponent tonight.
Tyrese Maxey: 31 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 9-20 FG shooting
Maxey, who was described as “phenomenal” and “a beam of light” by Lakers head coach Darvin Ham, was great from the jump tonight. He was involved in everything early on, scoring 10 points and dishing three assists in the opening period. He continued to dime up his teammates for threes and make four of his own in the first half. The second half was no different.
Lakers player notes:
LeBron James: 18 points, 0 rebounds, 5 assists, 8-12 FG shooting
After this game, no one in NBA history has spent as many minutes on the court as LeBron James. The King went up to third on the all-time scoring leaderboard and has now made even more history in the Wells Fargo Center.
James still drives to the hoop with nearly as much gusto as he did during his prime. He hardly missed a shot and his playmaking looked as sharp as ever, though he caught his teammates (except for Taurean Prince) on a cold shooting night.
Anthony Davis: 17 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 7-14 FG shooting
The one Paul Reed decried as “a big flopper” was a man on a mission in this game. He had himself a fine game, outmuscling players smaller than him and notching a double-double with ease but getting outmuscled himself against his larger opponent.
Davis did try to score on Reed and was called for a travel. Not a great look.
The Sixers returned home after one of their best wins of the season to face a Lakers team missing a few rotation players. Second-year guard Max Christie has been thrust into a big role recently and continued it by guarding Maxey. Davis guarded Embiid and vice versa while Tobias Harris took on James.
Davis left Embiid with a pair of fouls to his name in the first for minutes of game time. Reed's take not only looked prescient but it left Davis with some motivation as he scored eight points early on. James played deeper in the paint to protect it from drives, which helped open up some looks from deep for Philly.
Rather than sub Embiid out after his early foul trouble, Nick Nurse instead chose to put him on Christie and roam. The Lakers fell into a shooting slump before that tactical change and continued it as Embiid let Christie miss a pair of triples and Los Angeles struggled to score, especially when LeBron subbed out. They went scoreless for over three minutes while the Sixers nearly doubled their score after 10 minutes.
Nurse went back to subbing Maxey in to end the first quarter. He was asked pregame about pairing Embiid and Harris' minutes more before the game – which he did before bringing Maxey back in — and mentioned that he's still working out different substitution patterns. This, along with pairing Maxey and Nico Batm together as the main leaders of the offense to start the second quarter, appears to be a new one he's testing.
Although Patrick Beverley did too much ball handling to start the second quarter in favor of Maxey, the Sixers outscored the Lakers' LeBron-and-bench unit that featured Austin Reaves. Beverley made three — three! — triples against his former team in the first half. Marcs Morris Sr. made three of his own in as many tries, including on a kick-out in transition from De'Anthony Melton, who wisely opted to pass it out instead of take a layup with James trailing him.
The Sixers shot the cover off the ball, notching their 50th point with six minutes left in the half. Embiid stuffed Davis on a layup attempt and hit a three over him as he and Maxey continued to cook. Although no one could really stop James' drives, LA didn’t have the firepower to keep up with Philly's red-hot shooting.
At the half, the Sixers led 68-53.
The start of the half was delayed due to (more) issues with the Sixers' shotclocks. The Lakers started to play the Sixers more evenly thanks to James, who is still very tough to stay in front of at the age of almost 39. With LA's defense unable to stop Embiid one-on-one, Philly was able to stay ahead. Both brute-force superstars commanded things for their respective offenses but the purple and gold weren’t able to make a dent on the scoreboard.
Harris committed the Sixers' first turnover of the night almost halfway through the third quarter. Not only did they take excellent care of the ball but they also generated a ton of three-point looks AND cashed in on them. Half of Philly's shot attempts (31 of 62) were threes with a few minutes left in the third and they had made 16 of those shots. The Lakers, meanwhile, made just five of the 14 they attempted by that point in 55 shot attempts.
The crowd roared as Beverley and Robert Covington forced Reaves into a turnover, leading to some exchanging of words between PatBev and his former teammate. Embiid wrapped up his first triple-double of the season in just 29 minutes and forced Davis into his fourth foul of the game just before the third quarter concluded with Philly up by 18.
Morris made it a 21-point lead after Beverley brought the Sixers another possession with an offensive board. Maxey and Batum got into the three-point-shooting fun as the Sixers continued to play show-time-esque hoops. LA brought in deep-bench players Jalen Hood-Schifino, D'Moi Hodge and Maxwell Lewis with over eight minutes left in the game. Philly followed suit a few minutes later. Reed hit three and scored on a nifty reverse layup in the closing minutes. Mo Bamba hit a triple and Furkan Korkmaz had an and-one, too.
Suffice it to say this performance was a flop for the Lakers and a rousing success for the Sixers.
- Reed outright calling Davis a flopper this morning was interesting, to say the least. Nurse chuckled when he was asked about it before the game and Ham simply wished him luck.
The Sixers' next game is on Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans in The Big Easy.