The Lakers headed to Philadelphia looking to keep the momentum rolling after a thrilling win in LeBron’s return to Cleveland against the Cavaliers. However, the Sixers had other plans as they made things miserable for Los Angeles all night long. Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey had their way while they led the Philly attack and got the team off to a hot start. A 32-19 first quarter in favor of the Sixers had the Lakers fighting to get back in it from the jump, and they headed into the locker at halftime down 68-53. The third quarter saw more of the same as the Lakers continued to get torched from beyond the arch, and Joel Embiid did not even have to play in the final quarter. The Sixers finished things off in dominant fashion and handed LeBron James the worst loss of his entire career.
Here are three takeaways from the loss:
Lakers get smoked at the three-point line
In order for any team to win by a margin of 44 points, they’re going to need to have a nice night shooting the three-pointer. That’s exactly what the 76ers did, as they completely outpaced the Lakers from beyond the arch. Los Angeles was an abysmal 7-28 from three in the game, totaling just a 25% success rate. As for Philly, they lit it up with consistency and shot 22-46. The 47.8% effort was enough to completely sprint away with the game and leave Los Angeles in the dust. The lack of shooting combined with the 17 Laker turnovers was a recipe for disaster that eliminated any chances of victory. Anthony Davis and LeBron James went for just 17 and 18 points respectively, with +/- totals of -13 and -30. Every single player on the Los Angeles roster that played in the game finished with a negative +/-, leaving little room for any bright spots to be mentioned. Nonetheless, the game will only count as 1 loss in the standings, and the team can hit the reset button before taking their next stop on the road trip.
Maxey, Embiid dominate the game all night
While it is no surprise to see Joel Embiid doing MVP-caliber things every day, it’s the rising star Tyrese Maxey who has been turning heads all season long. With the subtraction of James Harden from the roster, he has stepped up in a masterful way and taken over the reins as the main ball-handler for a legit Philly roster. Maxey and Embiid continued their early-season success against the Lakers, as the duo went for 30 and 31 points. Joel Embiid was in total control, as he secured his first triple-double of the year in just 3 quarters and did not even have to touch the floor for the rest of the game. As for Maxey, his 31-3-8 performance was equally crucial, using a +25 night to space the floor and get everyone involved.
In a completely contrary fashion to the Lakers, every single 76er who touched the court was able to manage a positive +/- in the game. While the offense will assuredly return to its normal form soon enough for the Lakers, they need to bring more effort and communication on the defensive end going forward if they wish to remain competitive in the West.
LeBron makes more history in the loss, passes Kareem
In a game full of dreadful stats and negative remarks to be had about the Laker’s performance, one player who will have something to be proud of is LeBron James. In the game against Philly, he officially passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most career regular-season and playoff minutes. It’s the ultimate nod to his longevity and ability to perform consistently throughout his career in dominant fashion. Despite the legendary achievement, James was not in a great mood after the game (in which he did not record a single rebound). Seemingly very frustrated after the Laker’s 7th consecutive loss to the 76ers and their worst ever against the franchise, he had a simple remark regarding what needs to be done going forward to improve.
Among the rest of his post-game comments, James simply stated that “a lot” needed to be changed, and left it at that. While it’s definitely true, the team will need to start with their effort and intensity. They cannot continue to turn the ball over at such a high rate and put up a lazy effort on the defensive end. If they can begin to emphasize these areas, the rest should eventually correct itself and have the Lakers back to their usual form. With a trip to the quarterfinals of the Play-In Tournament already booked, it will be exciting to see how the team bounces back and works further towards their goal.
The Lakers will face the Pistons tomorrow on the second leg of a back-to-back in Detroit as they look to turn things around against a team that has now lost 14 games in a row after starting the season 2-1. It’s a prime opportunity to flip the script and collect a blowout win of their own to further bury an ugly loss on Monday night in Philly.
The game is scheduled to tip off at 4:00 p.m. PT.