The Los Angeles Lakers continue to thrive.
Los Angeles defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 120-107 on Tuesday at Staples Center and secured a season split against the Eastern Conference foe. Anthony Davis and LeBron James once again led the way in the latest effort, helping their team improve to a Western Conference-best 47-13 overall and 9-1 in the last 10 games.
As for the 76ers, they are struggling with inconsistency of late and are just 2-4 in their last six despite a solid 37-25 record.
They were without Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Josh Richardson in Tuesday's loss.
Notable Player Stats
- LAL F Anthony Davis: 37 points, 13 rebounds, four steals and two blocks
- LAL F LeBron James: 22 points, 14 assists, seven rebounds and two blocks
- PHI F Glenn Robinson III: 25 points and four rebounds
- PHI F Tobias Harris: 18 points and seven rebounds
Davis Dazzles in Dominant Return
Davis missed Sunday's win over the New Orleans Pelicans, which put the onus on James to carry the offense with a triple-double and moments of individual brilliance with the game on the line.
LeBron was impressive again Tuesday, but the All-Star big man took over.
The Lakers appeared to be going through the motions against what figured to be an overmatched opponent in a listless first half. It wasn't a shocking development considering there wasn't much at stake for a team with a sizable lead in the race for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, but Davis had enough in the second quarter.
He shifted into takeover mode and exploded for 18 points in that quarter alone, unleashing an array of skills that included a behind-the-back dribble in the lane, a handful of dunks, the ability to stretch the floor from deep and an innate understanding of how to play in space alongside a capable passer like James.
James quickly recognized how well his teammate was playing and shifted into facilitator mode. It was more of the same for someone who continues to adapt his game at 35 years old and is leading the league in assists, although he racked up his points as well and got in on the long-range fun with a shot from the logo.
The combination helped the Lakers turn a double-digit deficit in the second quarter into a double-digit advantage at halftime.
The first play of the second half was an AD triple, and it was clear the Purple and Gold would not look back with their seven-time All-Star operating at peak capacity.
Short-Handed Sixers Don't Have Firepower to Play with League's Elite
This is not what the 76ers envisioned at the start of the season when they were on the realistic short list of title contenders.
They were without Embiid (shoulder), Simmons (back) and Richardson (concussion) and never had much of a chance after Davis' showing in the second quarter. The Sixers deserve credit for building a double-digit lead in the first half and remaining within striking distance given their lack of firepower, but that didn't stop them from losing back-to-back games against the Los Angeles teams.
While Shake Milton turned heads with 39 points and seven three-pointers in Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and Glenn Robinson III looked comfortable initiating his own offense in Tuesday's defeat, these are not the names the 76ers need leading the way in battles with the league's best.
Philadelphia can only hope its dire injury situation will clear up before it faces the likes of the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors or Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Otherwise, a roster without Simmons and Embiid will fall far short of its goals even if it displayed tenacity for stretches on the road in Los Angeles.
The 76ers are at the Sacramento Kings on Thursday, while the Lakers host the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.