This was one of the craziest games I had seen in a while. And we thought the Lakers losing a 17-point lead with 10 minutes left against Indiana was out there.
The Los Angeles Lakers lost their third in a row on this road trip after losing to Philadelphia in overtime, 133-122.
Quite frankly, the Sixers should’ve put this game away in the fourth quarter. And they had many chances multiple times. It was set up by a scorching De’Anthony Melton in the third quarter, who scored 16 points in that period. We know how the Lakers are in the third quarter. They were outscored, 32-24, in those 12 minutes.
At the start of the fourth, James Harden and Shake Milton boosted the lead to 18 with 10 minutes left in regulation. Anthony Davis then went to work. He had been limited for most of the game due to foul trouble (he got his third in the first quarter and Darvin Ham risked him getting into further foul trouble in multiple points of this contest). Davis went on to score the next 10 points for the Lakers but the Sixers matched him almost every time. Philly still led by 16 with about 4:45 to go.
Davis continued to go to work, scoring 8 more points (making it 18 straight Laker points). With under two minutes left, the Sixers still led by 10. Then it got really sloppy. Three straight turnovers by the Sixers cut the deficit in half. But De’Anthony Melton, who was having a career game, made a three to boost the lead to 8, seemingly halting the rally for good.
“For good” didn’t last very long. Sixers still led by 9 with 30 seconds left. After a concession Patrick Beverley basket, Lakers put on the pressure and stole the ball. This was followed by two Davis foul shots and another full court press. Melton threw away the ball a second straight time and Austin Reaves (who was phenomenal in this game) made a three to cut the lead to two.
Melton split his foul shots with 10.5 seconds left. Reaves was somehow fouled on a three-pointer. Austin, a 92 percent foul shooter, made the first two but missed the third. Lakers went back to the full court press, stole the ball yet again, and Davis was fouled. The Lakers actually had a chance to win the game! But Davis’s second foul shot rimmed out and the game miraculously went to overtime.
In the overtime, LeBron James missed an easy lay-up and that was an omen for things to come. The Sixers took control and took advantage of a fatigued Laker team. L.A. missed lay-ups, settled for jumpers, and had another difficult time getting a tired Anthony Davis the ball. If it wasn’t for a concession PatBev lay-up, the Lakers would’ve been skunked in overtime.
It was really too bad. While the Sixers should’ve won the game early, the Lakers had a chance to steal the game at the end. It wasn’t fun early for the Lakers when Anthony Davis got that foul trouble. Still, his presence helped the Lakers convert 13 straight field goals in the second quarter. Davis got going late when the Lakers needed it. But in the end, the Sixers came out on top after getting a second chance in the extra session.
I did say in the game preview that the Lakers should run Philly out of the gym. The Lakers scored 32 points in the fast break (Sixers had 16). It nearly got them the win but they fell short at the end.
Joel Embiid feasted early, scoring 20 of his 38 points in the first quarter. De’Anthony Melton had his best statistical game of his career, scoring 33 points (his 8 threes also a career-best) and 7 steals. James Harden had 28 points and 12 dimes; he scored 9 of the 13 Sixer overtime points.
As mentioned earlier, Anthony Davis was very quiet due to foul trouble until he exploded in the fourth, scoring 21 of his 31 points in that quarter. He also grabbed 12 boards. LeBron James scored 23 points while Russell Westbrook had his first triple-double of the season (12-11-11). Austin Reaves went for 25 points and was the catalyst in that second quarter run.
At times, I was wondering which team wanted to lose more. Again, the Sixers were up by 16 with under 5 minutes left and up by 9 with 30 seconds left. The Lakers missed two crucial foul shots at the end of the game. L.A. was just out of gas after making that extraordinary comeback in the fourth. But as I’ve said a few times, it’s a results-based league. Now the Lakers have lost three straight while the Sixers snapped their own three-game skid.
Lakers end their arduous road trip against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday. At the very least, they have a chance to even their road trip at three wins and three losses before returning home to go against their forever rivals, the Boston Celtics.
But for now, it’s another heartbreaker of a loss for the Lakers. That hole is getting deep again for the team at 10-15.