One night after Lower Merion High School named their gymnasium after Kobe, Kobe treated the city of Philadelphia to his lowest scoring total of the season on a 3-for-11 effort. With Kobe having one of those rare off-nights, it would be Lamar Odom and Matt Barnes who stepped up and helped lead the Lakers to a 93-81 win.
Tonight marked the Lakers’ fourth straight win on their current road trip. The game started out a sloppy mess, with both teams combining to miss the game’s first nine shots (Philadelphia would go on to miss their first 11). The Lakers rallied to an early 10-0 lead before turnovers got the 76ers running. Six Laker first quarter turnovers led to ten of Philadelphia’s 21 first quarter points. What also contributed to Philly’s run was the fact that eight of the points during the Lakers early 10-0 run were shot attempts in the paint: a Pau Gasol layup, a Ron Artest layup, a Derek Fisher layup, and a Pau Gasol jump hook. For the remainder of the quarter, the Lakers largely went away from pounding the ball inside, including a badly airballed Kobe three pointer.
Philadelphia also did their part in contributing to the Laker woes, not only in the first quarter, but in the third quarter as well. They turned the Lakers over early, getting them running against an older, less athletic Laker team. They also hit the boards hard, grabbing 16 offensive rebounds with four guys grabbing multiple rebounds on the offensive end of the floor. Andre Iguodala had a huge dunk, Spencer Hawes threw some beautiful passes that led to layups and Elton Brand got some easy looks, mainly due to their ability to turn the Lakers over in those first and third periods. Of course, there were lots of offensive rebounds to grab due to the number of missed shots in this game, but Philly worked hard to grab them.
The game ended up being decided in the fourth quarter where Lamar Odom and Matt Barnes did most of their dirty work. The fourth quarter started out with Matt Barnes getting in the lane for a layup, followed by two consecutive and-ones from Lamar Odom. Also in this quarter: Matt Barnes hit the Lakers’ first three-pointer of the night (after the team started 0-for-11 from long range); Lamar Odom found a cutting Matt Barnes to extend the lead to nine; Lamar Odom hit the Lakers’ second three pointer of the night; Matt Barnes assisted on the LO dunk that definitely put the game on ice, extending the Lakers lead to 15 with just over five minutes left to play; and they combined for eight rebounds in the quarter.
Pau Gasol had a decent night with 19 and 13, Steve Blake — minus his 1-for-5 shooting — played a good game with five points, five assists and four rebounds, and the Lakers, for the most part, played a great game on the defensive end of the floor as a team (Philly only shot 3-for-21 from behind the arc and only 37.5% from the field). But the night belonged to both LO and Matt Barnes, who had the biggest roles when it mattered most.
The Lakers end their road trip in Canada as they take on the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. They’ll have the opportunity to win their fifth straight before coming home to play the Milwaukee Bucks, a team that has won three of their last four.