Preview & Chat: The Philadelphia 76ers

Darius Soriano —  December 16, 2012

Records: Lakers 10-14 (12th in the West), 76ers 12-11 (8th in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 106.1 (6th in the NBA), 76ers 99.2 (24th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.1 (14th in the NBA), 76ers 100.9 (11th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Chris Duhon, Kobe Bryant, Devin Ebanks, Metta World Peace, Dwight Howard
76ers: Evan Turner, Jason Richardson, Nick Young, Thadeus Young, Kwame Brown
Injuries: Lakers: Pau Gasol (out), Steve Nash (out), Steve Blake (out), Jordan Hill (questionable); 76ers: Andrew Bynum (out), Jrue Holiday (doubtful), Royal Ivey (doubtful)

The Lakers Coming in: Coming off their first win in over a week, the Lakers can only hope they can start to build some momentum at the tail end of their road trip. And while the Wizards game didn’t necessarily inspire confidence that this team is playing substantially better, there are some positives to take away from that game. Jodie Meeks is evolving into a solid contributor on both ends of the ball with his long range shooting and scoring ability desperately needed off the bench. And Devin Ebanks is also starting to find a role as a combo wing whose length and live legs are proving useful on offense and defense.

And, for what it’s worth, reinforcements appear to be on the way. Reports state that Gasol is pain free when running on a treadmill and the hope is that he’ll be back for Tuesday’s game vs. the Bobcats, but if not then by Saturday’s game in Oakland. Reports also state that barring a setback, Steve Nash hopes to start practicing next week. Nash will likely need to get a few practices under his belt before he can see game minutes, but just having him as an active member in practices can help this team start to develop the chemistry they’ll need as the season advances.

There are other issues to address, of course. But getting this team healthy is the number one goal right now and the closer they get to that point the closer we can get to truly knowing what this team is made of.

The 76ers Coming in: The Sixers have lost two in a row and five of their last seven. Not only have they been struggling to get wins lately, like the Lakers they are also dealing with some injury issues of their own. Jrue Holiday is doubtful for today’s contest with a sprained foot he suffered against the Bulls on Wednesday. He’s officially a game time decision but it’s a good bet he doesn’t play (or, if he does play that he’s not up to his normal standard). And, of course, Andrew Bynum is still out with complications in his left knee after suffering a setback while bowling a few weeks ago.

The injury to Holiday is important because he’s having a very good season. He’s averaging 18 points and 9 assists on the season and many believe he could be an all-star this year. He is their floor general and, with Bynum out, clearly their top player so having him out or diminished is quite the blow. As for Bynum, the Sixers have done well to keep their heads above water with him out, but it’s obviously a huge disappointment that he’s not yet played a game for them this year. After having the “Kobe procedure” on his knees over the summer, Bynum suffered a bone bruise in his rehab and then suffered the aforementioned setback a few weeks ago. There is no timeline for his return but the hope is that he’ll be on the court at some point in early January. The Sixers are taking their time and being cautious in their handling of this as they see Bynum as a big part of their future. But for a team that had such high expectations coming into the season, the injuries and loss of key players to acquire Bynum has left them scrambling somewhat.

76ers Blogs: Philadunkia is a very good site (and has a great name). Give them a read for all your news and notes on the Sixers.

Keys to game: This is the last game of what turned out to be a tough road trip for the Lakers and the last home game for the Sixers for some time (10 of their next 11 are on the road), so expect this to be a highly contested game by two teams that are looking to get a key victory.

Defensively, the Lakers must find a way to defend the arc against Jason Richardson and Nick Young while slowing Evan Turner and his desire to attack off the dribble. Per ESPN Stats and Information, Turner ranks as the 4th best isolation scorer in the game and whether it’s Kobe or Ron that guards him, he’ll look to attack off the dribble and get into the paint where he can either score for himself or kick out to shooters like Richardson and Young. The Lakers must be able to help on Turner and recover to the arc where both Richardson and Young have quick triggers and will fire without hesitation.

Also expect the Sixers to push the pace and look to take advantage of the Lakers in transition. They have several players that like to get out and run and without Bynum in the lineup, the Sixers have speed advantages at nearly every position. The Lakers will need to balance their desires to attack the offensive glass with getting back against the advancing ball as players like Thad Young, Turner, Dorell Wright, and Richardson look for easy baskets off Laker misses.

Offensively, the Lakers must get back to moving the ball. And I’m not just talking about Kobe. Nearly every Laker wing is thinking shot first when they make the catch and it’s leading to the ball stalling out way too often. The ball must be swung from side to side and into the post more often in order to keep the defense off balance by forcing them to make multiple rotations. If the Lakers decide they’d rather attack in isolation or take the first open shot available to them, they’ll find a loaded up Philly defense ready to snuff out their initial action. But if they instead focus on ball and player movement, they can exploit a solid Sixer D who has good athletes but not the most aware defenders (outside of a few core players).

With the Lakers heading home after this game, there’s no better time to start a mini-streak by getting their 2nd consecutive win. With Holiday either out or hobbled, they’re facing a team whose best playmaker (who also doubles as the player most able to take advantage of their biggest defensive weaknesses) shouldn’t be as much of a threat (if one at all). This should translate to the Lakers being able to snuff out their offense simply by being attentive and and playing with energy. Do that, and they’ll be in this game until the end even if their own offense struggles. Add in a team based offense and they should be able to take this game.

Here’s hoping we can see the good version of the Lakers this afternoon and that they can have a happy plane ride back to Los Angeles.

Where you can watch: 3:00pm start on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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132 responses to Preview & Chat: The Philadelphia 76ers

  1. This one’s for Warren!

    Can’t hurt…

  2. Kobe Alert: Since the last alert, KB has been busy: He went by Ewing + Cummings for 30th on the games list. He moved by Eddie Jones for 13th on the 3 pointers list and is now only 2 behind Glenn Rice. This next stat is for Slappy who had previously mentioned KB’s misses. The category is once again 3 pointers, where KB moved ahead of Billups for 6th all time. Problem is that Kobe is over 200 makes behind Billups. Love ya Kobes, but people are saying I am being too redundant, so I am being balanced here by pointing out your shortcomings, as well as your accolades. He needs 2 rebounds to move into 70th place ahead of Herb Williams. He needs one blocked shot to have 600 for his career (176th). To close my post I will paraphrase Rasheed Wallace: I hope that for tonight’s game – that everyone plays real hard.

  3. 2 and 2 on the rode could be a start. Hope Kobe dosen’t try to over due coming back to his home town. Need a team game as 76 ers are missing their two best players which is worse then Lakers missing their 3rd and 4th best.

  4. C-Dave/Fern: Yes – we can turn this around. I am counting on it. I am an optimist – that is why I am so hard on MD. We should be better than this. Remember – I was one of the ones who was talking about the best roster in pre-season. That does not look so good now. Fern: We do need to get moving, because as I said – the number of times someone has “turned it around” the way we need to is exactly twice in 66 years. I am not looking for a good showing : )

  5. Interested to see who’ll get the defensive assignment against Turner. Ebanks or Ron Ron. Nuetralize him and we have a good chance of coming out of Philly victorius.

  6. With Jrue out, no reason Lakers shouldn’t win this game. Depends on effort more than anything.

  7. How many times will Dwight make the same offensive foul on screens. Do we have coaches?

  8. Kobe forcing the ball and lossing it time and time. May lead Keague in TO’s. I don’t get it.

  9. 5 turnovers already. I swear, is there another team in the league that gets stripped as much as we do? TO’s are simply a sign of low basketball IQ, making the same stupid mistakes game after game. Pathetic.

  10. If the Lakers lose to this Sixers team without them having Holiday, it will just be sad and pathetic. More than the 40 turnovers they are on pace to have…

  11. Make that 6 with 5:41 left in the freaking 1st quarter this game sould be a double digit lead

  12. Seriously someone is commenting on Kobe’s turnovers? He has ONE so far, Dwight has FOUR.

  13. Could he Lakers at least pretend to try forcing Young to his right.

  14. Smh here comes the pain.

  15. Hate to say it but Dwight is not much better then Kwame Brown. How sad is that. The guy has only one offensive move, it’s called a turnover.

  16. Lakers may have 10 turnovers this quarter!

    Team can’t stand success.

  17. The sixers got the momentum alreasy this is going to be another long night, i wanna throw up

  18. The most subtle moves and guys are blowing past lakers perimeter defenders. Lakers have below average nba defenders.

  19. Ko…

    The refs need to make that same call against Kwame Brown who’s has gotten away with several illegal screens that have led to 76er points.

  20. Love the game threads. Always fun to see if we can take the hyperbole to a new level with each passing game.

    Who can top a Dwight Howard-Kwame Brown comparison?

  21. Kenny, kwame is getting away with being in tje NBA lol

  22. Great couple plays to end this Q from Kobe and MWP.

    Meeks is playing stifling man on man D. Other Lakers take notes.

  23. I remember was Brown was called stone hands. Can’t blame the fact Dwight leads NBA on center TO’s on his back.

  24. Great couple of defensive stops.

  25. Does Ebanks understand the simple concept of not pulling up for a jumper when there’s nobody underneath to rebound? Again, low basketball IQ plays.

  26. Boy has Jamison become worthless. What happened?

  27. Lakers bench showing some good things so far.

  28. I guess Dwight is befter that Kwame some people are just i dont know

  29. It can all start by beating teams that we should beat based on sheer talent

  30. Dwight is rebounding and altering shots quite well.

  31. Butterfingers kwame, never gets old

  32. Now bad is Jamison? Needs to be moved. Bench playing much, much better D then starters. Liking it.

  33. Butterfingers kwame, never gets old, stoll camt believe that scrub is still getting paid all that money

  34. At least we are not last in bench points LOL.

  35. Kobe gettin some decent rest for a change and team holding the fort down. Keep him on the pine until Philly makes a run.

  36. Good energy for the 3rd game in 4 days. Have to build on this lead now.

  37. Ko: Jamison is a mystery. He was light years better last year. Draw your own conclusions why – but the results are what they are. 6 months of age does not turn an NBA player inept

  38. I agree, Robert. The problem is, we haven’t been getting those wins because our talent alone can’t overcome our stupidity.

  39. All those points Fern werewith Brown on the bench. Please watch.

  40. M and M Meeks/Morris out of control. Best game of Morris life.

  41. Kobe with the awesome hook shot! That was pretty.

  42. See what happens when you have a point guard who can shoot?

  43. Im watching and he is still a worthless scrub, Dwight obviously not an at 100% because he have demolished Kwame countless times in the past

  44. this Kobe guy is good

  45. Really Kobe. 1 on 5?

  46. Does that young ref have a whistle? He should have had to buy a ticket.

  47. Brown is the worst offensive center the past 10 years. I was referring to the stone hand TO issue.

    Best half in 2 weeks.

  48. Ko that was a 2 for 1 situation. Kobe had a nice open look. Just missed it.

  49. Hey Zirk: How true – don’t feed me like that though. A team that is not smart is a direct reflection on – well – you know – and we are on a winning streak so I am staying positive.

  50. Good half vs a undermanned sixers team. Kobe well in his way to another 20+ fg game. Could come back to haunt the team if 7 of next 11 shots don’t go in.

  51. Nice half. Good bench play. Everyone contributing. They need to keep it up.

  52. Best half in a while on both ends of the floor the only reason this is a 10 point game is because nick young was lights out, wanna have a chuckle guys? I just read that Bynum said that Kobe stunted his growth on LA lmao, i guess Kobe took a crowbar to those jell-o knees, what a ungrateful buffon

  53. Excellent ball movement in the 1st half. Everyone getting involved. Good to see Kobe not settling for only jumpers and attacking the rim, which means his back must be feeling better. Dwight’s defensive presence in the paint has been felt as Kenny T noted.

  54. Dwight 5 points, 6 rbs, 5 TO’s. Metta more rebounds. just not convinced on the guy. Hope I am wrong.

  55. *does Sacre bench dance*

    Good half guys.

  56. Start Morris, Devon is not good. Make the change Mike.

  57. A team that is not smart is a direct reflection on – well – you know – and we are on a winning streak so I am staying positive.

    Nah. This half just shows why you have been looking in the wrong place. The difference? Point guard play. Morris out of nowhere, is shooting lights out, Holiday is out, so they’re up 10. Not everything is about your contempt for D’Antoni-as was the case with Ko and Brown last year, as we have seen.

  58. Dwight looks lost on offence tonight, but his D has been solid.

  59. MWP is making a statement regarding his view on guarding him with Turner.

  60. Metta is playing some strong defense.

  61. Too much Kobe ISO, making near impossible shots is not going to last.

  62. Nobody talking about Metta – let’s give some credit there

  63. Ron is having a good game – Hey Joe – it has lasted for 17 years : )

  64. Fern ..,,

    Typical Bynum excuse making. Let’s see how he does in Philly. Btw Andrew’s hair looks pretty ridiculous.

  65. Duhon is playing off Dwight very well tonight.

  66. rr: Don’t talk about point guards – that is a very Fishy subject for me.

  67. Can we seriously bottle whatever MWP has going right now? If he played like this nightly we would easily win 50% more games.

  68. By far the best Metta has looked as a Laker. Hats off to him.

  69. yes – Ron is out of his mind. This is what we saw at the end of last year.

  70. Dwight dont lost lost he is getting his touches and kicking it out when need it.

  71. Sacre getting burn

  72. Ko game 7 of the 2010 Finals say hi

  73. @rr,
    I’m somewhere in between you and Robert when it comes to what our problems have been this year. IMO, there are certain things in the game of basketball that should have nothing to do with talent or coaching. And the problem is, we’ve been making these same mistakes all season long that have nothing to do with coaching or talent. I’ll just use one example. Transition defense. It shouldn’t take a player with the talent of Lebron to simply get back on D. Nor should it take a coach of Phil Jackson’s calibur to make a player get back on D. That simple fundamental concept should have been instilled in our players from their youth league coaches! I certainly remember all my coaches preaching that to me. Getting back on D is simply a matter of basketball smarts, hustle, and desire. It has nothing to do with talent or coaching. And I think that’s been a huge problem for us this year. Just not being a fundamentally smart team, whether it’s transition D or turnovers or whatever.

    Just like right now with this run the Sixers are on…

  74. KB is just too much. We are all fortunate just to spend time in his presence.

  75. This team has way to many fundemently bad players to play this fast type offense, really need to rethink it Mike. We seem much better in half court.

  76. What run? The Lakers shot that down pretty quick, lets hope they can mantain this last quarter and get Kobe some rest.

  77. Exactly. Look how efficient we have been in the half court? It has just been beautiful to watch.

  78. Since that awful first Q, Dwight has not turned the ball over, has continued to play rock solid D, has altered more shots than I can count, and has passed well out of dbl teams to the tune of 5 assists.

    This is a solid game for him to build from. Not his best offensively, but perhaps his best from a team play perspective and embracing his role as the defensive captain.

  79. Attaboy Dwight!!!!!

  80. Kobe in there to start the 4 th? Really mike? Team played very well without him in there in the 2nd.

  81. Jamison is just a crap player. He must be released or traded. Get him off the court. Are you blind Mike?

  82. Now its when we really really miss Nash floor generalship

  83. Lakers started fooling around and it’s a 9 pt game now. This gimmick freelance offense allows the team to take poor shots and be nonchalant when they lead. Happened to many times this year.

  84. Do something Mike. You can’t run with this team. Isn’t it obvious? Wide open shots!

  85. Down to mine. Good timeout. Time to regroup.

  86. Have to find some offense besides Kobe

  87. Dwight is getting mauled by Hawes, making no difference.

  88. Ref’s called that foul on Duhon but swallowed their whistle when Dwight got butchered the previous play by Hawes.

  89. Dwight is hustling

  90. Kobe has 31 tonight, with 10 less shots than he needed to score that last game.

    Efficient Kobe = Good Kobe. Take as many shots as you want when you are scoring at that rate.

  91. Spencer hawes looks like Mike Giminski.

    Not that I’m advocating it cuz I’m not – but its my understanding that Jamison can’t be traded until Jan 15th and has to give his permission – players who sign one year deals have trde limits/rights

  92. Dwight doesn’t get much love from the refs.

  93. Really does make a difference when your guards are making shots. Best guard play this year.

  94. Dwight stat line: 13 points 10 rebounds 5 assists 3 steals 2 block shots and those 5 Tos overall pretty solid game

  95. Jamison needs to work out. He did not forget how to play basketball over the summer. It is a mystery. Jerke (not directed at you) He is worth nothing in a trade.

  96. Stop the quick 3 pointers? Disciple?

  97. I woul like to get a recording of any one on one conversations between Ron and Mike D – I think they would be amusing

  98. 6 1st quarter Tos, 6 since hugeee diference.

  99. This is how games vs undermanned teams are supposed to play out if your an elite team. Now D’Antoni has to sub out the stars. 21 straight mins for Kobe. And has been playing every 2nd half this road trip.

  100. 3 min left starters still playing?

  101. Ok, Mike. Get the starters out.

  102. The sixers arent as undermanned as the Lakers, remember we have 4 key guys out.

  103. Why is it I am nervous no matter how far they are up this year.

  104. Was D’Antoni letting them shooting quick 3 pointers with a double digit lead late in the game? That’s going to burn them eventually against teams like the Thunder and Heat.

  105. Kobe is playing too many minutes, but its necessary quite frankly. Need wins now, won’t matter how well rested he is if we don’t win enough games to keep us in the hunt until we are back at full strength.

  106. This was a chemistry building win

  107. 2 wins in a row – KB over 30 in both

  108. Just goes to show what a difference one player can make. This would have been another game entirely if Jrue had played.

  109. I think all the Lakers are finding out where Bynum gets his hair done so they can AVOID that place at all costs…yikes – dudes worst injury yet!

  110. “Also give him some crap about that Perm.”


  111. Well, first it was a win against a crappy team, albeit unimpressive. And tonight it was a W against a decent opponent, albeit without their best player. Maybe we’re finally trending upwards? If we can just come out with energy and effort every night, play fundamentally sound basketball and limit our stupid mistakes, I don’t see why we can’t start to build off these last two wins. We’ll see…

  112. Kenny T really? You can ask the same about Pau and Nash not playing, shesh

  113. Oh, in other news, the Lakers have 2 wins in which:

    1. Kobe scored 30 points; and
    2. They held their opponents under 100 points.

  114. Fern: agree. Lakers looked like they had a plan and executed it fully.

    Time to carry the momentum over to home court. Last time they ended bad trip good in Dallas and layed a stinker next home game. Have to keep the momentum going forward.

  115. Kobe did not force any shots, just an excellent very efficient shooting game for Kobe and distributed the ball very well too. He got his 34, but was very efficient. I am still very concerned about this team defensively. They are just so slow rotating and cannot stop penetration.

  116. To me, this game simply reflects the difference when perimeter shots fall. I’ve been exasperated with recent criticism of the FO after the incredible summer they had, but consistent 3-point shooting in today’s NBA is almost a requirement.

  117. @scott – that’s a by product of having guys who mistake having a green light to shoot vs taking a good shot at the right time. Remember – they aren’t even playing anywhere near to what D’antonis system is – its a lot different when Nash is running it and making the decisions. Right now MDA is just trying to get guys up and down the flr and to space – w isos for kobe and dwight thrown in – can’t implement much of anything else w 2 starters and backup pg out.

    2 in a row is a start – Dwight looked healthier a bit. Not too much to note aside from it was a win this team should expect to get in these circumstances. Good to see lots of guys getting time throughout the game. Not that he’s a game changer – but nothing wrong w having a big strong guy who doesn’t make dumb mistakes and plays within himself to set picks and give hard fouls during games.

  118. Joe M the D was all right wich is as good as it gets with this team, they will never be a defensive machine but if Nick Young wasnt lights out most of the night the Lakers would had won by 20+ . Good team effort on D overrall.

  119. Duhon and Morris: 29 points, 6 AST, 1 TO, 7-15 3s.

    For people who think Nash will not make much of a difference, or a better backup 1 would not make a difference, or who think that D’Antoni, Kobe, or Howard is the biggest problem, this is Exhibit A. Yes, the Lakers caught a big break with Holiday being out, but those numbers (which are obviously not sustainable) are great for those two guys in any context. And look what happened–a 13-point win on the road.

  120. rr: Let’s look at the items where we agree: Nash will make a big difference. KB is not the problem. DH is not the problem. So we agree on 75% of what you said. That is not bad : )
    Great Win ! And with the Bobcats coming we can have 3 in a row !

  121. 1st post luck working? whats the stat on that Darius?

  122. I hope the Lakers dont lay an egg on Tuesday, they have been a momentum killing team this year, i hope this is a start of something…

  123. Fern…. You got me wrong. I’m not saying that the Lakers would have lost if Jrue had played. I’m just saying that without him, the Sixers had no direction. I’m really hoping that Steve Nash can make that type of difference for the Lakers when he returns, as well.

  124. Just going to go out on a limb and say that this win makes up for the loss in Cleveland. After that night, I thought we would have gone back to LA 0-4. So pumped the Lakeshow proved me wrong.

  125. Good timeout and a really lacklustre Sixers team in the stretch but still, solid D from our guys to close the game. Offence looks more fluid when they make the extra pass for an open look or drive in and that is what we need more consistently. Also with 4 minute left and up 12, we’re better off draining the clock and getting a quality shot. I’m really not a fan of this Mike D style. This is not SSOL Suns and he should know better. Even if it is, these are the shots that have every potential to bring the other team back to the game. But w/e, W in the bag, another topic for another day.

    I’ve been very sceptical towards Meeks but not any more for now. I know he is bricking a fair amount of threes but he is gradually getting his confidence back and also playing hard. A fantastic FT shooter too. His numbers will be there eventually. On the other hand, Jamison takes a step backwards every next game…

  126. I’m happy for the win,

    Steve Nash will be practicing tomorrow.

  127. If Jamison have a consistence three pointers, we will have one of the best 6th players in the league but so far he have been streaky, with most of his points coming from close range(something that is rare when you consider Kobe, Dwight and even Ron operate there a lot)

  128. I just read Nash wont be practicing tomorrow he still have pain on that damn nerve. But its most likely we get Pau back on Tuesday

  129. Way too much negativity in many of these comments.

    The Lakers played a decent game against a decent opponent and won rather easily. Substitutions and rythmn were appropriate. Defense was effective. Dwight Howard made all of his free throws. Small ball with Metta on the 4, Ebanks on the 3, and Meeks getting major minutes is working. The overall play of “good” Kobe was deeply appreciated.

  130. Interesting that nobody mentioned Duhon’s 3s. Maybe it didn’t sparkle on the stats but I think he made some key 3s during the game. I remember the unconfortable 8 point lead that persists for a while and Duhon kept it there with some 3s.

    Not stating that Duhon is good or had a great game, just saying that his3s came at the right time.