Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Monday evening road contest at Philly, the Lakers looking to bounce back from a tough loss in Utah, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Bynum
Sixers: J. Holiday, J. Meeks, A. Iguodala, L. Allen, S. Hawes
8:00 A strong Lakers start saw the road team off to a 9-2 lead after Bryant nailed a wide-open three pointer, as Evan Turner made the mistake of helping off the Philly native. Bryant had five points, and Gasol two buckets in the hot start, Kobe now only 19 points away from passing Shaquille O’Neal for fifth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
2:36 Philly’s bench has been terrific from a scoring standpoint all season, and Lou Williams, Evan Turner and Thad Young showed why by combining for 11 points to trail by just two at 19-17.
0:00 The quarter belonged to Kobe, however, as he totaled 14 points – including two three-pointers, from from almost Pittsburgh, it was so deep – to lead LA. to a 24-21 lead. Andrew Bynum grabbed seven rebounds inside, and John Kuester had time outs running crisply as head coach Mike Brown (suspended for making contact with an official in Utah) watched from the team hotel, likely eating special Philly cheesesteaks sent by Kobe.
7:00 Kobe didn’t exactly cool off after checking back in … he immediately drained back-to-back three-pointers, both contested, to reach 20 points on 7-of-11 FG’s, with four threes. He’d then add two free throws to get within a point of tying Shaq, and put L.A. up 36-32.
5:08 On a long pull-up two, Kobe Bryant became the fifth leading scorer in NBA history. Pretty amazing. He was up to 24 points in the game, and had the Lakers up to a five-point lead. Bryant did admit that passing Shaquille O’Neal, his former teammate, did in fact mean something special to him, just like it did when Bryant earned his fifth championship ring to surpass Shaq’s four.
0:00 L.A. couldn’t get any one of three shots in the finals seconds to go, but still took a 50-46 lead into the half, behind the 24 points from Kobe, and a collective 16 boards plus some strong low post defense from their twin 7-footers. The Sixers got 26 points off their bench to just two for L.A., but don’t let that stat deceive you too much … Philly’s scheme is designed to be of equal opportunity, and their bench players play much more than that of the Lakers, which features the talents of Bryant, Gasol and Bynum.
11:00 Bynum scored inside on LAL’s first offensive possesion, which allows us to point out that he had 10 boards in that first half, almost as much as Philly’s total of 14. Controlling the glass completely helped L.A., but Philly stayed in it thanks in part to eight Lakers turnovers and by hitting five triples.
6:34 Three consecutive turnovers … which as we mentioned was what kept Philly in the game in the first half … here got Philly into the lead, as Bryant twice gave up the ball and Philly twice scored at the other end, taking a 58-57 advantage. Minutes later, a Meeks three would give Philly its biggest lead of the game at 63-59, capping an 11-2 run for the home team.
1:00 L.A. came out of a John Kuester time out with a 8-3 run, getting good ball movement as the double teams continued to come on Kobe, as Murphy and Goudelock got threes, and Murphy a dunk from Gasol. Nonetheless, a Thad Young baseline J put Philly up 70-69 heading into the final quarter.
9:30 The Murphy/Goudelock combo continued to help, as both scored again to reach seven points apiece off the bench, and put L.A. back in front. Goudelock then nailed a tough baseline turnaround to make it a 77-74 LAL lead.
6:09 Bynum had been asserting himself on the glass throughout the evening, grabbing 18 – his second-highest total of the season – and was also getting the job done on offense, twice getting Gasol easy hoops with pretty passes, and blocking shots on D. He added an emphatic put-back dunk off Kobe’s miss, capping a 6-0 run that put his team up five.
3:23 With Philly continuing to over play Kobe, a frequent LAL play the whole year worked twice more, Kobe first feeding Gasol, who then lobbed inside to Bynum to get two free throws. Bynum made both, snapping a 5-0 Philly run that had them within two, to put L.A. up four.
0:11.0 But from that point on, Kobe missed his next four shots and turned the ball over once (a push off), while Lou Williams hit three consecutive shots to put Philly up five. Kobe finally got one to go with 1:06 to play, but after a defensive stop, missed in the lane with 32 seconds to go and Philly up three. On the other end, L.A. had Philly desperate for a shot with three seconds on the clock, but Gasol bumped Williams outside the three-point line. The Lakers weren’t in the bonus yet, but the shot clock got reset to 14 seconds (11 on the game clock), meaning L.A. had to foul. Williams made both free throws to put Philly up five, and the game was essentially over at 95-90.
L.A. was very much in the driver’s seat, not for the first time this season, but failed to execute down the stretch, and thus saw their four-game winning streak in Philadelphia snapped. They’d have two days to think about it before a Thursday evening game in Boston.