Lakers 111, Sixers 98: Dec. 16 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Sunday evening contest at Philadelphia, the final game of a four-game road trek across the East Coast, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Duhon, Bryant, World Peace, Ebanks and Howard
Sixers: E. Turner, J. Richardson, N. Young, T. Young, K. Brown

FIRST QUARTER
2:38 Despite committing seven turnovers that resulted in eight Sixers points, the Lakers held a 21-19 lead after the third triple of the quarter from Metta World Peace. Bryant had 11 points of his own, including a triple, while Dwight Howard didn’t score in his nine minutes, missing all three of his shots and committing four turnovers.

0:00 World Peace added another triple to go a perfect 3 for 3 in the first, and the Lakers used four offensive boards to garner 12 second chance points to help produce a 28-24 lead in the first period. For the seventh road game in the team’s last eight, the team was playing with good energy, something Mike D’Antoni could be pleased about.

SECOND QUARTER
9:20 L.A. got a terrific start from backup point guard Darius Morris, who drained his first … and his second … and his third three-pointer in only seven bench minutes, an unexpected 11 bench points that helped the Lakers take a 38-29 lead.

2:32 Offense was coming from everywhere, and easily, as Morris continued to explode by hitting two more shots (5 for 5 for a career-high 15 points in just 13 minutes), Meeks drained his 2nd and LAL’s 10th triple in 15 attempts and Bryant scoring all over, a gliding baby hook getting him to 15 points himself.

0:00 With 1 of 2 Bryant free throws to close the half, the Lakers took a 60-50 lead into halftime, thanks in large part to the 3-point barrage, plus much improved taking care of the ball in the second quarter (one turnover after seven in the first). L.A.’s coaches were certainly pleased with the general energy on both ends.

THIRD QUARTER
9:04 L.A.’s defense continued to be solid early in the third, with World Peace causing havoc and L.A. converting on the other end, a 7-0 run producing a 67-52 lead. However, a break down on the subsequent possession allowed Nick Young a wide-open 3, as Howard didn’t contest and Young reached 19 points to match Bryant.

1:00 A corner three from Meeks popped out, much to everyone’s surprise, as he’s hit four of his first six shots towards 10 bench points in helping L.A. to an 85-69 lead. That was the margin heading into the fourth quarter, at 87-73, in what had been a very solid all-around effort.

FOURTH QUARTER
8:44 The Lakers cooled off on O, getting only Kobe’s running hook and two free throws out of seven field goal attempts, while a 5-0 Sixers run capped by a Spencer Hawes three-pointer had Philly within nine points at 91-82. Mike D’Antoni had stressed how important it was for L.A. not to let a team back into the game since Washington had trimmed a 14-point lead at Washington down to just four halfway through the quarter on Friday, and called time out presumably to remind his players of that fact with just over eight minutes to play and the cushion down to nine.

3:52 Apparently the message worked, because with Bryant’s pull-up three (on a play that honestly was a double-dribble), the lead swelled to 18, Bryant at 34 points and plus 30 for the sixth straight game. In NBA history, only two other players did that five straight games after the age of 34: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan. Not bad company.

0:00 The final count in L.A.’s most complete game in two weeks was 111-98, with Bryant’s scoring plus six dimes being aided by 19 points and a career-high 16 boards from Metta World Peace, plus a total of nine three-pointers from Morris, Duhon (three of his four in the second half) and Meeks, plus Dwight Howard’s rim protection (two blocks, multiple shots affected). The Lakers improve to 11-14 on the season in advance of Tuesday’s home game against Charlotte. We’ll see you there.