IT HASN’T been good for the Los Angeles Lakers home crowd these last two games after losing by the thinnest of margins. First losing against Dallas after two overtimes and now the Philadelphia 76ers with a nail-biting 112-113 loss in Los Angeles Monday morning (Manila time).
But this game was anything but just a typical loss for the Lakers, it was vintage showtime except for the result. James was hot early on, scoring 14 points in the first quarter keeping the Lakers within striking distance, trailing by a single point 32-33.
With the scores tied at 45-45 in the second, the 76ers went on a 6-0 run with James Harden making a long distance shot and Joel Embiid back to back baskets. They would continue this tag-team to help the Sixers increase the lead to eight with a minute left in the second quarter.
Lakers duo, James and Russel Westbrook answered down the stretch to take a one point lead at the end of the half.
It was a dizzying back and forth after the break. Thomas Bryant made it 83-86, heading into the final quarter with a cutting dunk shot in the lane from a Westbrook assist.
In a sea of All-stars, a role player clinches it
After the final time the score was tied at 97-97 with five minutes remaining, Harden scored seven points, momentarily taking over the offense and the lead. This begins another see-saw battle with Embiid, James, Westbrook and Harden all trying to control the game.
It took a timely performance from a role player —- Georges Niang 23-foot three-pointer with a minute to go and a last defensive stop against Westbrook to cap a hard fought win for the 76ers to make his mark ahead of the all-star players from either side.
The Lakers were led by Lebron James 35 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists with Russel Westbrook coming off the bench with a triple-double 20 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists for a losing effort.
Joel Embiid and James Harden combined for 59 points of Philadelphia’s total output of 113 points.
The Lakers will try to bounce back from a three game losing streak against the Houston Rockets while Philadelphia will visit Lakers’ crosstown rivals LA Clippers next hoping to win eight out ten games since the New Year.