Game Report: Lakers defeat 76ers 111 – 98
The Lakers played well in the three areas where they have struggled:
1) They had solid point guard play: Chris Duhon and Darius Morris combined to score 29 points (10-19 FG) and dish out six assists against just one turnover in 47 minutes of play.
2) They kept a handle on the ball: After committing a whopping seven turnovers in the first quarter tonight, the Lakers settled down and committed only seven more the rest of the night, to finish with a respectable 14.
3) They accepted the charity that the charity stripe is meant to provide: The Lakers shot an impressive 19-24 (79%) from the free throw line, including 3-3 from Dwight Howard. Howard’s free throw shooting has improved of late, and if he makes his next free throw attempt he will have made it up to 50% (130-260) for the year. Still terrible, but he is heading in the right direction.
In addition to playing well in the areas they have been struggling, the Lakers also got big play from their big players. Kobe scored 34 points (12-21 FG) to go along with four rebounds, a steal, and a team-leading six assists. Dwight Howard had 17 points (7-13 FG) and 11 rebounds for another double-double, but he also added five assists, three steals and two blocks.
Incredibly, both Kobe and Dwight were outplayed tonight by Metta World Peace, who had his best game of the season, and likely his best game in a long, long time – see below.
Finally, it was announced after the game that Pau Gasol will practice with the team tomorrow. If he responds well to practice, then he is likely to play in the Lakers next game. The Lakers have gone 3-5 in Gasol’s absence.
There was no update on Nash’s condition tonight, other than to say he will not practice with the team tomorrow, but that it is still hoped he will practice with the team later this week. The latest speculation is that he might return to play on either December 22 or 25, but of course he won’t return until he has practiced, and responded well to practice.
Lakers’ Player of the Game
Metta World Peace is tonight’s Lakers’ Player of the Game – he dominated tonight. He scored 19 points on an efficient 60% shooting, pulled down a career high 16 rebounds, grabbed four steals and had two blocks, in addition to tying for the team lead in plus-minus at +11. He was all-around awesome tonight.
Tonight’s Top Two Tweets in my Twitter Feed
“One more game against the slumping Cats and the Lakers get nearly a week of rest and can return 2 all-stars. They have survived.” – @iggypop120, post-game tweet
“STOP TALKING ABOUT RETIREMENT, KOBE. DAMN IT.” – @Lakerholicz, post-game tweet, after Bryant spoke about maybe not having many more games left to play in his boyhood city of Philadelphia
Tuesday, December 18 versus the Charlotte Bobcats, 7:30 p.m. PST