Rapid Reaction: Sixers 103, Lakers 99
January, 1, 2013
By Dave McMenamin
LOS ANGELES -- It had the feeling of a letdown game when you saw it on the schedule. What was going to wake up the Lakers for a game on New Year's Day against a sub-.500, Andrew Bynum-less Philadelphia 76ers team that L.A. just beat in Philly about two weeks ago with relative ease?
"It’s always a tricky game on a holiday," Pau Gasol warned at practice Monday. "So it’s a game that we need, and then we’ll think about the next one when we get to it."
Turns out that road win against the Sixers was a bit misleading, because UCLA product Jrue Holiday wasn't playing. With Holiday's 26 points and 10 assists, Philadelphia was a whole different animal on Tuesday.
How it happened: After falling behind by 11 early, the Lakers let a four-point halftime deficit swell to eight headed into the fourth quarter. Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace tried to shoot the Lakers back into the game in the fourth quarter, but the closest L.A. would come was within two points after a Bryant 3-pointer, which was immediately followed by a Spencer Hawes jumper to bump it back to four points.
What it means: Consistent energy and effort have been elusive mistresses for the Lakers this season. As 2013 begins, they'll have to try to find that six-of-seven-wins momentum they had at the end of 2012.
Hits: Kobe Bryant got back on the 30-point train with 36 points on 14-for-29 shooting to lead all scorers.
Jordan Hill had 10 points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes, but eight of those points and six of those boards came in the eight minutes he played in the first quarter.
Misses: It took Dwight Howard until 6:15 remained in the third quarter before he scored his first field goal after starting the game 0-for-5. He managed to chip in 14 rebounds and five blocks, but his mobility didn't seem to be there as he finished with just seven points (1-for-7 from the field and 5-for-10 from the line). Gasol had 11 points and nine rebounds, but his accuracy wasn't much better (2-for-12 overall, 0-for-2 from 3).
The Lakers shot just 3-for-22 as a team from 3-point range (13.6 percent).
Notes: Antawn Jamison received a DNP-CD for the sixth straight game. … Chris Duhon did not play because of back spasms. He said he will "definitely" be ready for the Lakers' next game Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Stat of the night: Don't blame this one on turnovers. The Lakers had just seven of them, leading to six Philly points.
What's next: The Lakers-Clippers rivalry has certainly picked up in recent seasons, with Blake Griffin making the Lakers' Staples Center cohabitants relevant again and the Chris Paul trade fiasco adding fuel to the fire. The Clippers won't be coming into Friday's game riding a long winning streak (it ended at 17 with a loss in Denver on Tuesday), but it should be a great test for the Lakers regardless. The schedule also gives the Lakers a break -- two days without a game before the Clippers matchup. The Lakers have an off day Wednesday and get a practice in Thursday before the game.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.