Sixers set to take on Lebron and the Lakers

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Harden
Philadelphia 76ers’ James Harden, left, and Joel Embiid celebrate after a basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Philadelphia 76ers travel to the City of Angels to face the Los Angeles Lakers as they continue their five-game road trip. This game comes after the Sixers survived the Utah Jazz.

Game Details

Who: Philadelphia 76ers (26-16) at Los Angeles Lakers (19-23)

When: 9:30 pm EST

Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA

Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia

For the Sixers

After an embarrassing loss to the Thunder at home on Thursday, the Sixers traveled to Utah and beat the Jazz 118-117 on Saturday night. They needed every minute and point they could get from James Harden, Joel Embiid, and Tyrese Maxey, but it was reserve guard Shake Milton who stepped up, chipping in 17 points. James Harden led the team with 31 points, 6 rebounds, and 11 assists, while Joel Embiid had 30 points and 7 rebounds, hitting the game-winning shot with 4.9 seconds left.

With no rest, the team is in Los Angeles today for their second and final game of the year against the Lakers. The last time they played, the Sixers won 133-122 in overtime. They’re going to need another strong effort from Embiid and Harden tonight, but the reserves, like Milton, Georges Niang, Matisse Thybulle, and Montrezl Harrell, need to really step up. They’re going to need a complete effort from the whole rotation, and head coach Doc Rivers is going to need to make the right moves in order to overcome the Lakers.

Having the starters play together is great, but the reserves need to be in, getting quality minutes, so the team can start operating as one unit instead of starters and reserves.

Like all teams, the Sixers must remain healthy if they are to have a realistic chance of success. Running the starters into the ground will come back to haunt them if they continue to do so on back-to-backs like tonight. James Harden continues to place high in the league in minutes per game. Despite recently missing a month due to a lower-body injury (after two years of various lower-body injuries), he ranks second in the league at 37.2 minutes per game.

Everyone in the top ten, with the exception of Harden and Nets guard Kyrie Irving, are in their low to mid 20’s. They are all young guys, yet Harden is out there, slightly behind Luka Doncic for the league lead. That’s going to be bad news for the team as they prepare for a tough second half of the season.

For the Lakers

Well, there’s not much going right in Los Angeles these days. Anthony Davis can’t seem to stay healthy, now out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his foot. Lebron is doing his Lebron thing this year, averaging 29.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game in just over 36 minutes. (He’s 38 years old and maybe in better shape than he was at 28.)

The Lakers just took the Dallas Mavericks to double-overtime on Thursday night and wound up losing 119-115. it’s the Laker’s second loss in a row after a loss this past Monday to the Nuggets. The Lakers, while not very good, are well rested, and with Lebron, Russell Westbrook, Lonnie Walker IV, Dennis Schroder, and others, the team should be ready to play and looking to make a statement to start the second half of the season against a very good Sixers team.

Prediction: Sixers 112 – Lakers 119