It’s prime time again in Philadelphia, as Lebron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers make their way to Wells Fargo Center.
On Wednesday night, the Philadelphia 76ers extended their losing streak to Toronto to 15 games, as they fell to the Toronto Raptors by a score of 107-95. The loss halted their four game win streak as well. As they look to get back on track, the 76ers will celebrate the Year of the Mouse on the Chinese Lunar New Year Saturday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Coverage will begin at 8 p.m. with tip-off scheduled for 8:30 p.m. on ESPN. Radio coverage will be on 97.5 The Fanatic.
Despite missing some key players, Philadelphia is only a four-point moneyline underdog with an over/under set at 218.5.
Updated Injury Report
Josh Richardson strained his hamstring early in Wednesday night’s loss to the Raptors. Hamstrings seem to be the Achilles’s heel of the Sixers’ new guard, as he missed time earlier in the season with the same injury. Richardson will be out at least another two-to-three weeks, when he will be reevaluated.
Joel Embiid remains out of the lineup from the gruesome finger injury he suffered a few weeks ago. Embiid practiced in full on Friday, and is expected to be reevaluated Monday.
With two out of their starting five, the Sixers will be missing 38.4 combined points per night, and need someone to step up.
Anthony Davis is the biggest name on the Lakers’ injury report. He is questionable to play with a glute injury. With Joel Embiid being out, there are rumors that the Lakers may limit Davis to allow him to rest up. His status is still up in the air.
Kyle Kuzma (probable – ankle); Rajon Rondo (probable – finger); JaVale McGee (questionable – flu) also sit on the injury report for L.A.
Lebron Chasing History
Lebron James is sitting a mere 18 points away from Kobe Bryant on the third most points in NBA history. James, who scores 25.2 points a game, while helping on a league high 10.8, looks to breeze by the record tonight. However, the Sixers don’t seem to care.
“It’s not on my mind,” Brett Brown said. “I think he’s class, and he’s a champion, and he’s incredibly important to our league. To feel at all the need to come in and if he scores whatever number you just said against Philadelphia … I don’t care. I want to beat the Lakers and it doesn’t enter my mind, that side of the equation of defending him or the Lakers.”
The Sixers will be more focused on keeping the King, and potentially A.D., to modest scoring totals. Ben Simmons’ defense will be put to a true test, as the Sixers seek overcoming injuries to win this game.
Wells Fargo Center
It’s been the safe haven all season long for the Sixers. When in Philly, the 76ers thrive, leading to their 20-2 record at home. If the Sixers want improved chances at winning this game, the crowd will need to get into it. A full house is expected as usual, with a crowd itching to watch their home team and Lebron James will fill the arena.
This one does not bring me the most confidence. L.A. is 20-4 on the road this season, scoring 114.6 points on average.The Lakers have a positive net rating in all lineups with Lebron, but are vastly different with him on the bench. If the Sixers want any chance winning this game, they’ll have to take advantage then. When he is off the court, the Lakers have a minus-2.4 net rating, the only player whose absence causes LA to go in the negatives. If the rumors are true and Davis rests, the Sixers need to win this game by shutting Lebron down and outscoring the Lakers’ bench.
But again, I am not sure how I feel about this game. Assuming the Lakers have a full lineup and Lebron will be full speed chasing the history books, the Sixers will drop this one.
Expect a 112-104 Lakers win. However, let’s hope for the flip side of that.
Avid Philly fan and future educator
Student at Stockton University