It’s been a struggle this season for the Philadelphia 76ers, who have lost twice as many games (30) as they’ve won (15).
Yet Philly remains dangerous due to a mix of young talent and an untraditional style that has helped them earn several quality wins: at Boston (98-97); at Portland (104-93); at Denver (108-105); New Orleans (96-92); and Dallas (92-81).
In January, the Sixers are 6-7, and have made a change to their starting lineup by putting rookie Jrue Holiday and Elton Brand into the mix and sending Louis Williams and Thaddeus Young to the bench. L.A.’s coaching staff acknowledged that Brand may demand a double team at times, which opens the floor for cuts within coach Eddie Jordan’s Princeton offense.
The Lakers will also be well aware of Andre Iguodala, who leads the team in scoring (17.6), assists (5.7) and steals (1.87), and beat L.A. himself with a buzzer-beating three-pointer last season at STAPLES Center. He finished with 25 points in that game, and the 76ers overcame a 14-point fourth quarter deficit.
But in Philadelphia last December, the Lakers won rather easily (114-102), led by 32 points from Kobe Bryant.
A few other notes heading into the contest:
- Philly’s All-Star starter isn’t Iguodala, but Allen Iverson, who joined the team after parting ways with the Memphis Grizzlies and has averaged 14.5 points and 4.4 assists in 20 games this season.
- Offensively, the Lakers will likely look to go inside once again to Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, who have combined for 86 points in L.A.’s last two victories at Washington and Indiana.
- Kobe Bryant says he’s starting to feel better from his various ailments, and the recent numbers are backing up his claim. He made 8-of-15 shots in Washington (53.3 percent) and 10-of-15 in Indiana (66.7 percent) after failing to shoot over 50 percent in 13-of-14 games in which he was bothered by a broken finger (among other things).
- Tipoff is at 4 p.m. Pacific; we’ll see you on Lakers.com for full coverage.