The Sixers started their west coast trip off in LA facing the Los Angeles Lakers. This game saw the return of Joel Embiid and James Harden to the Sixers’ starting lineup after missing Monday’s matchup against the Miami Heat. After a slow start, the Sixers would take the lead over the Lakers, and despite LA making a late run, Philadelphia held on to secure a victory. The 76ers would hang on to win the game 126 – 121 over the Lakers behind another great performance by Joel Embiid, logging 34 minutes, 30 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals, and three blocks.
Philadelphia’s starters had a good night overall, with four out of the five starting scoring 20 or more points last night, Tyrese Maxey (21 points), Tobias Harris (20 points), James Harden ( 24 points), Joel Embiid (30 points). For the second game in the row, the 76ers’ bench continued to show life, scoring 27 points. Leading the way was Georges Niang (nine points), who has been consistently hitting his shots from deep lately. The Sixers’ sniper made three consecutive threes early in the game. Niang helped to keep the Sixers in the game, while Furkan Korkmaz gave good minutes off the bench as well, making a three and scoring six points last night.
The Sixers played with a much better pace last night, getting up and down the court, creating opportunities in transition that we haven’t seen lately. The ball movement and spacing were good, creating many open shot opportunities for everyone on the floor. This helped Tobias Harris, who looks to be finding his role with the team, make two of his five three-pointers. Harris gave great minutes on the floor with the bench unit and helped to keep the lead against the Lakers.
Last night’s games showed there is still work to be done, but that the team and players are starting to figure out their roles and gaining confidence as this will be needed for a legitimate run for a championship.