Joel Embiid, 76ers Beat Anthony Davis, Lakers as LeBron James Sits With Injury

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 28, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 27: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives to the basket during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on January 27, 2022 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers earned a 105-87 home win over the LeBron James-less Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday at Wells Fargo Center.

Three-point shooting made all the difference: Philadelphia made 13 shots from downtown, while L.A. went 6-of-29 from three.

Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 26 points, Tobias Harris scored 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting and Tyrese Maxey's 10 assists led all players. Thanks to their efforts, the 76ers ran away with this one in the third quarter after outscoring L.A. 34-20.

The Lakers missed James, who sat with a sore left knee. Head coach Frank Vogel relayed the news to reporters pregame:

Mike Trudell @LakersReporter

Vogel said that LeBron woke up with some soreness in the knee, enough to rule him out for tonight’s game. No further testing or anything is planned. They’ll see how he feels tomorrow.

Anthony Davis did all he could to keep the Lakers in this game, scoring 31 points on 14-of-21 shooting and grabbing 12 rebounds. The rest of the team largely struggled, though, making 22-of-67 field goals.

The 29-19 76ers have now won four of their last five games. The 24-25 Lakers have alternated losses and wins over their past seven matchups.


Notable Performances

Lakers F/C Anthony Davis: 31 points, 12 rebounds

Lakers G Russell Westbrook: 20 points

Lakers G Malik Monk: 11 points, 5 assists

76ers C Joel Embiid: 26 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists

76ers F Tobias Harris: 23 points, 5 rebounds

76ers G Tyrese Maxey: 14 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds


76ers Cruise in 3rd Quarter To Put Game Away

Early in the third quarter, the Lakers trailed just 54-52 with Davis' latest bucket giving him 19 points. The big man was the best player on the floor despite suffering a right wrist injury that briefly sent him to the locker room in the first quarter.

However, the rest of the Lakers couldn't follow suit, and the 76ers took advantage in the third quarter.

Maxey got rolling in the third, scoring eight points in under three minutes during one stretch. A Tobias Harris three-pointer following that spurt and another Maxey layup gave the 76ers a 72-58 lead.

Matisse Thybulle's defense also took center stage, with a pair of steals leading to four points during the spurt. The second of them led to the run-ending Maxey bucket.

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

Matisse ThyBULLY. <a href="https://t.co/rd4EVhSv2I">pic.twitter.com/rd4EVhSv2I</a>

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

Tisse 👉 Rese 💥 <a href="https://t.co/gwLlY6rTSK">pic.twitter.com/gwLlY6rTSK</a>

Embiid took over for the rest of the third quarter, dropping seven points and adding two dimes. This three-point play gave Philly a 79-63 lead:

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

I am so happy he's on our side. 🙂 <a href="https://t.co/q2lXuSkFBi">pic.twitter.com/q2lXuSkFBi</a>

The big man later took advantage of a double-team and found Niang for a wide-open three:

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

<a href="https://t.co/aQrjB0Ulsv">https://t.co/aQrjB0Ulsv</a> <a href="https://t.co/BOkjp9wC41">pic.twitter.com/BOkjp9wC41</a>

The 76ers went up by as many as 22 in the third. The Lakers chipped away in the fourth and knocked the lead down to 12 points, but Philadelphia held L.A. off for the comfortable win thanks to its third-quarter cushion.


AD Does It All for Lakers

The Lakers' lone silver lining is that Davis looked like his best self in his second game back after missing over a month with a sprained MCL.

Davis looked spry early when he ran up the court and caught Malik Monk's Hail Mary pass for two:

Spectrum SportsNet @SpectrumSN

Monk with the perfect pass up the floor! 👀 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LakeShow?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LakeShow</a> <a href="https://t.co/aFCawQy0ue">pic.twitter.com/aFCawQy0ue</a>

He frankly outplayed Embiid all night, dunking on the big man here to tie the game at 14:

Spectrum SportsNet @SpectrumSN

🔨 <a href="https://twitter.com/AntDavis23?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AntDavis23</a> 🔨 <a href="https://t.co/2FpxTypiLd">pic.twitter.com/2FpxTypiLd</a>

The Monk-Davis connection kept working, with AD going up top to finish off the guard's alley-oop pass:

Spectrum SportsNet @SpectrumSN

Monk tosses it up high for the <a href="https://twitter.com/AntDavis23?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AntDavis23</a> oop! 💥 <a href="https://t.co/E7LFaSIBpN">pic.twitter.com/E7LFaSIBpN</a>

If not for Davis' efforts, this game may have been over early in the third quarter. His work was made more impressive by the fact that Davis dominated against Embiid, who has typically gotten the best of AD over the years:

Mike Trudell @LakersReporter

AD (23 points, 5 boards, 2 blocks) out-dueled Joel Embiid (13 points, 6 boards) in the first half, hitting 10 of 13 FG’s, including 7 for 7 in the paint, plus 3 jump shots.<br><br>But Philly was +15 from three, and holds a 54-48 lead.

Rich Hofmann @rich_hofmann

Unbelievable first half from Anthony Davis, who Embiid has played well against in his career: 23 points on 10-13 shooting. A nice mix of easy ones from his teammates but also a few tough, well-contested mid-rangers.<br><br>Sixers still lead the LeBron-less Lakers at halftime, 54-48.


The second half was largely a disaster for L.A., as the 76ers dominated on both ends. James' absence clearly played a part, and the Lakers' inability to produce much offense outside AD did as well.

Still, the Lakers could perhaps (finally) get on a consistent winning track if they have a healthy James and Davis together, especially with the latter looking great.

Having the two on the court together has been a luxury all season, but they could hit their stride if that pairing is finally realized on anything more than a sporadic basis this year.


What's Next?

Philadelphia will host the Sacramento Kings on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Lakers will visit the Charlotte Hornets on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Spectrum Center.