The Los Angeles Lakers got a tremendous boost two nights ago when Anthony Davis made his long-awaited return to the floor. He didn’t play very long, but the excitement and anticipation helped the Lakers come out with a 10-point victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
It was just their third win in seven games, though, Los Angeles dead even at 24-24. The road only gets harder from here, with the Philadelphia 76ers up next.
The Sixers have won 12 of their last 15, compiling just three losses since December 26th. Everything seems to be clicking for them even without Ben Simmons on the floor.
- Game: Los Angeles Lakers (24-24) at Philadelphia 76ers (28-19)
- Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
- Day/Time: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Television: TNT
Los Angeles Lakers at Philadelphia 76ers
Defense Absent in LA
The Lakers have an unbelievable amount of experience and talent on their roster, yet none of it is really coming together. Many people point to the struggles on Russell Westbrook or the fact that Davis has been out for so long.
However, Davis is back and Westbrook might be gone soon. If the rumors are true, the Lakers might ship him to Washington John Wall, which would mark the second time that the two have been traded for each other.
For the Lakers, there are clearly chemistry issues from a team that is almost entirely different from previous seaspns. Where it’s showing the most is defensively.
They are the 27th-ranked team in the NBA in terms of points allowed per game at 112.3. Los Angeles has a lot of offensive firepower and that thought makes the Lakers believe that they can simply outscore teams.
That hasn’t been the case this season, though. If the Lakers are hoping to flip the script and get back into title contention, a serious effort change has to be made on the defensive end.
Embiid Dominating for 76ers
If you want to understand how the 76ers are playing so well without Simmons in the lineup, look no further than Joel Embiid. The Philadelphia superstar is absolutely dominating on both ends of the floor.
Embiid has averaged 29.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.4 blocks for the 76ers. He has become such a force in the paint this past month and it’s helping them cruise through opponents one by one.
He has also gotten a lot of help from Tyrese Maxey, a young point guard that has averaged 16.6 points in an increased role.
Philadelphia is on a ridiculous hot streak at the moment. One that could easily continue if the Sixers don’t overlook the Lakers despite the struggles that they’ve faced.
Philadelphia Unsurprising Favorite
Given how each team has performed over the last month of action, it isn’t surprising to see the 76ers listed as two-point favorites in the sportsbook. Embiid is likely going to be the difference maker here for Philadelphia.
He will be lined up against Davis and could exploit the matchup with the Los Angeles center not being fully up to speed on the offensive end.
The Lakers really don’t have many other capable centers on the roster to defend Embiid when he gets going, which is why the 76ers should end up winning this game down the stretch.
If you bet online, the over-under is at 218 for now. The under seems like the safer bet between two teams that could play incredible defense when they are locked in.