Monday night provided a clash of the Titans as Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers faced Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers. Two of the best big men in the NBA faced off in a National TV Showdown. What many hoped to be a great game turned out to be a Sixers’ beatdown. They defeated the Lakers by 44 points in a game that really wasn’t close after the first few minutes of the first quarter.
Here are three takeaways from the Sixers’ lopsided win over the Los Angeles Lakers:
Making his Marc(us)
Marcus Morris Sr. returned to his hometown as a part of the James Harden trade and originally didn’t receive much playing time as Nick Nurse figured out the rotation. He got some spot minutes early on, but when Kelly Oubre Jr. went down and Nicolas Batum missed a few games, he was forced into action. He wasn’t successful on the court early on but has started to play better with more time on the court.
Morris Sr. admitted during a recent practice that it’s been an adjustment for him to come to Philadelphia and not have a defined role. He has been a starter for the majority of his career and adjustment, not playing nightly. Tonight against the Lakers, Morris looked like the Celtic that killed the Sixers throughout his career in Boston. He scored 16 points, hitting four three-pointers. His start against the Timberwolves could have helped him get into a rhythm.
Joel Embiid is averaging a career-high in assists (6.6) this year, buying into an offense that has more movement. He’s been close to a triple-double a couple of times this season and more than once last week. Against the Lakers, he tallied 11 assists for his first triple-double this season, acquiring the feat within the first three quarters.
Embiid got a lot of his assists through dribble handoff actions with Maxey and touch passes to the wing when the Lakers doubled while he was at the nail. Although he had three turnovers, he is moving the ball well. His willingness to pass has continued to unlock this offense and given his teammates the confidence to let the shots fly. His improvement in that area will continue to be a driving force for this team.
A dominating Sixers defense
The defense was dominant against the Lakers starting from the first tip. The Lakers started the game leading by five and the starters clamped down and Los Angeles didn’t see the lead again. Davis had a hot start, but adjustments were made and he struggled thereafter.
Philadelphia’s defense held the Lakers to 25 percent shooting from long range and forced 17 turnovers, which they turned into 24 points. The Sixers were able to tally 11 steals and grab 48 rebounds, 16 more than the Lakers.
If the Sixers can focus and lock in on defense like this most nights, they show why they can hang with all the top teams in the league. Defense and rebounding are all efforts and head coach Nick Nurse seems to be able to push the right buttons for their defensive schemes the majority of nights.