Lakers hold on late to defeat Sixers, 101-94

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Lakers and Sixers split their season series at one game apiece.

LOS ANGELES — It wasn’t pretty. For the most part, it felt like a game from 25-30 years ago. But in the end, the Lakers showed they could also win in a disgusting manner. Points were in a premium and the Lakers scored enough, 101-94.

Rui Hachimura got things started for the Lakers as he scored the first 7 points for the team. A bit later, D’Angelo Russell would make a three to take sole possession of the record for most threes in a season for the Lakers with 184.

He wasn’t done as he followed it up with another three-pointer.

Still, the Lakers went on a long drought as they went for more than four minutes without a field goal. Anthony Davis sprayed some water on the dry ground with a three to give the Lakers a lead going into the second period, 24-23.

The Sixers themselves went scoreless for nearly four minutes of game time before Buddy Hield made a three. The game turned a bit ugly even though there were some diamonds in the rough. Even though no one would want to rewatch most of the second quarter unless you’re a film room junkie, LeBron James and Kelly Oubre, Jr. exchanged explosive dunks. Because of the turnovers (10 in the first half by Los Angeles), the Lakers fell behind, 52-50, at the half.

L.A. shot the ball better in the third but was still a bit careless with the ball. Both teams tried to run away with runs of their own but neither could break away. Lakers kept up with the Sixers as Philly was up, 76-75, going to the fourth quarter.

In the fourth, Tyrese Maxey continued his excellent second half play as he kept slicing the Laker lead down. The Lakers pulled away a bit as LeBron and Anthony Davis made big buckets. Philly made it interesting with a late Tobias Harris lay-up and a three from ex-Laker Mo Bamba. And then Maxey made a steal but missed the three that would’ve cut the deficit to two. The Lakers made clutch free throws to close it and L.A. has won their second straight game.

The first thing that stands out for the Lakers are the turnovers (21!). They’re fortunate enough to come away with the win especially since the Sixers played a much cleaner brand of basketball (8 turnovers though there was a bad unforced one with under four minutes to go).

I mean, there’s a reason why Maxey was an all-star. He kept going downhill at will and at times, was the only offense for Philly. Their defense was also impressive and it made the Lakers look like offensive buffoons. Still, they got just enough offense from multiple players. In a game where they needed points, Spencer Dinwiddie finding a bit of rhythm couldn’t have come at a better time. While the Sixers stifled L.A., it’s not like the Lakers didn’t do the same thing. Like I said before, at their peak, the Lakers can be a fantastic defensive team.

It also stood out that the Sixers only made 7 threes while the Lakers had 11. Philly made 22 in that ugly blowout on Nov. 27th. So it was good that the Lakers limited them from shooting from afar.

Speaking of threes, as mentioned earlier, D’Angelo Russell now has the record for most three-pointers by a Laker in a season. Congrats, D’Lo.

The Lakers were led by Anthony Davis: 23 points and 19 boards! LeBron James did score 20 points to go along with 8 boards and 6 dimes but he also had 7 turnovers. Four other players scored in double figs; Spencer Dinwiddie had his Laker high with 11 points. As for Philly, Maxey had 27 points while Kelly Oubre, Jr. scored 19. Tobias Harris had a double-double with 16 points and 13 boards.

L.A. (38-32) will finish their home stand on Sunday night against Indiana (who defeated the Warriors to help the Lakers out in the standings). And then they go on a long road trip that will last 6 games starting on Tuesday. Every game is important from here on out and this win against the Sixers, shorthanded or not, was a big one.