After an impressive win on Monday, the Philadelphia 76ers took their show on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday to begin a 3-game road trip on the West Coast. The Lakers were shorthanded with the team missing LeBron James and Anthony Davis as it was a big opportunity for Philadelphia.
After falling behind early, the Sixers were able to take control in the second quarter and then were able to cruise the rest of the way for a 126-121 win over the shorthanded Lakers. Joel Embiid had a big night as he finished with 30 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks to lead Philadelphia and James Harden had 24 points, seven assists, and seven rebounds.
Tyrese Maxey added 21 points, seven assists, and five rebounds, Tobias Harris added 20, seven rebounds, and five assists, and Georges Niang hopped off the bench to add nine points. DeAndre Jordan added nine points and seven rebounds and Furkan Korkmaz had six points.
Here are the player grades following the win to start the road trip:
This was a slow start for Harden shooting the ball. He was aggressive, which is always a good thing, but he wasn’t able to get much to fall in the early going. What he was able to do was get his teammates involved in terms of making sure the offense flow a bit and making sure everybody touched the ball. One concern that could be there for Harden is his health. He has struggled with his shot and he doesn’t have the same explosive drives to the basket. With now 10 games left before the playoffs, getting The Beard healthy should be the priority. He did get to the free throw line often.
After a huge night against the Miami Heat in the previous game, some would think that Maxey would take a step back and defer to Harden and Embiid a bit. While that was somewhat the case, the Sixers still got some good production from the second-year guard. He ran the break and knocked down a corner triple early and he made a lot of really good decisions out there. Russell Westbrook tried to take advantage of him on the defensive end, but he did a solid job against him on that end. Westbrook is a tough cover and Maxey didn’t back down. He also was huge in the fourth quarter with timely baskets.
Thybulle picked up a silly foul in the opening quarter when he fell for a DJ Augustin pump fake in the corner as it was just a slow start for him on the defensive end. Combine that with the Lakers not paying much attention to him out on the perimeter, and it made for a tough night for Thybulle. The one time he was able to cut, he was rejected by Wenyen Gabriel at the basket. He did have two steals within a 15-second span in the third quarter, one of them allowed him to get a dunk.
This was a slow start for Harris, but there was a stretch in the second quarter where he knocked down a triple, then attacked a closeout from the Lakers, and he had a highlight slam on a lob pass. Add a solid offensive night with him continuing to do the little things on the defensive end and this was another good night for Harris. He has done a better job recently of fitting into his role with both Harden and Embiid out there. He was big in the non-Embiid minutes as he made some big plays on the offensive end of the floor.
The Sixers did a good job of getting the big fella the ball early. Dwight Howard backed up Embiid the previous season so he has an idea of what he can do, but Embiid did a good job of using his size and skill to be able to score against him on the offensive end. He was knocking down fadeaway jumpers, he went up and under on Howard, and he also added a Dream Shake for a bucket. The one cause for concern was in the first half when he was fouled by Stanley Johnson and he immediately grabbed at his back. In classic Embiid fashion, the big fella still played with the same intensity in the third quarter and he gave the Lakers problems with his offense.
The offensive boost Niang gave the Sixers in the first quarter was important. His 3-point shooting ability and his willingness to keep firing it while playing next to Harden is a big help for Philadelphia as he drilled three triples in the opening quarter off the bench while Johnson had his big quarter for the Lakers.
Give Korkmaz a ton of credit. With the Sixers being so shorthanded in the previous game, he received an opportunity and took advantage of it. In this one with the Lakers, he played well again on the offensive end and he still showed off the confidence in his game that he can help off the bench.
Like Korkmaz, it was good for the Sixers to see Milton build off his last game a bit. He didn’t shoot the ball well, but he at least knocked down a 3-pointer which is something the Sixers will take from him on a nightly basis if he can find consistency with it.
Jordan still has issues on the defensive end, but he gets credit for rolling strong to the rim on the offensive end. He and Harden had a lot of chemistry going on early on the offensive end and it looks like they will be able to figure it out for the future.
The veteran didn’t play much in this one as he missed a corner triple and he had a tough time on the defensive end as well. He also had a tough time on the defensive end staying in front of Malik Monk.