Sports Out West

Behind porous shooting and defensive struggles, Lakers fall short to 76ers 111-104

Photo Credit: Lakers.com

LOS ANGELES- The discouraging losses continue to pile up for the Los Angeles Lakers as they fell short 111-104 on Sunday to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Entering their game against the Lakers, the 76ers in the month of December had lost 10 out of the 12 games that they have played and  had lost their last 13 road games. All of that was put aside as it not matter in their 15th road game of the season, as they capitalized on porous shooting performance by Los Angeles at 37 percent shooting from the field to go along with 20 turnovers.

“We just had way too many turnovers. I don’t know what our problem (is), but we were out of sorts a little bit,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We have guys battling, but it’s not enough right now. It’s very disappointing, and I’m sure guys will have their heads down until tomorrow, but we just have to pick them back up. No one is going to feel sorry for us, So I know the group will get it together, and we’ll come out here Tuesday and get a win.”

Philadelphia behind Thaddeus Young, who had 25 points and nine rebounds, and Evan Turner, who chipped in an all-around performance of 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists, took advantage of the Lakers’ mistakes and miscues.

“I think just going out there and being defensive-minded and offensively moving the basketball and getting each other in the flow of the game.” Young said. “I think those were the biggest keys to us winning the game.”

After trailing much of the game by as much as 13 points in the third quarter, Los Angeles was able turn a nine-point deficit to begin the fourth quarter into three-point lead midway through the quarter behind a quick 7-0 spurt to give them a 97-94 lead after an 11-foot fade away jumper by Nick Young. The 76ers would respond by closing out the game on a 17-7 run.

The Lakers had the chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer by Shawne Williams with 55 seconds left in game but it was off target. Sunday’s loss can be chalked up as a game where Los Angeles could not maintain consistent energy or get stops on defense.

“(We) just got to go out there and find ourselves again,” Young said of the team’s defensive effort against the 76ers. “That is all we need to do is bring that energy, talk to each other and have fun again. We are (just) worried about too much out there.”

As for Los Angeles’ offensive output Young led the way with a game-high 26 points followed by 18 and 13 rebounds from Jordan Hill, and Jodie Meeks chipped in with 15.

The Lakers had began the game on a 12-2 run on 4-out-5 shooting from the field.  The 76ers respond by going on a 16-4 run that includes nine straight unanswered points to give them a lead 20-16, but Los Angeles would go on a 6-o run to give them a 22-20 advantage to end the first quarter.

In the second quarter the 76ers used a 18-7 run to separate themselves from the Lakers at a 38-29 lead but were unable to maintain their lead as allow Los Angeles to crawl back into the game and finish the quarter on a 6-0 run to tie the score at 52 going into halftime.

Spencer Hawes got his offense going in the third quarter scoring 11 points of his 19 points that included two 3-pointers to help the 76ers outscore the Lakers by nine points heading the final quarter that proved to be too much to overcome.

It was the constant battle of trying to comeback from multiple deficits that made it very difficult added with inability to get the stops need to grind out a win did the Lakers in Sunday’s game.

“You can’t just point to one play,” Kendall Marshall said of Sunday’s loss. “When you lose by two it’s easy to point to the last play, but maybe a missed box-out or a play where we turned the ball over. We just have to crack down on the little things, develop them into wins and hopefully get on a little bit of a roll here.”

Henry Injured

Add another Lakers guard to the list of injured players as Xavier Henry exited the first quarter with a right knee strain, which he is expected to undergo an MRI on Monday.

“I just landed awkwardly on my leg when I was about to plant,” Henry said. “I tried to gather myself and stumbled a little bit, and it felt loose.”

After the game, Henry described his knee as feeling “weird” and that he experience some swelling in the injured area. But with that said, he is looking ahead to the MRI and seeing what is the severity of the injury and move on.

“Worse things have happened,” Henry said, who was 0-for-2 shooting from the field for 0 points with one rebound, and one turnover in five minutes played. “All I can do is go to tomorrow and get my MRI and see what they say, and move on from there.”

The loss of Henry for what appears to be an extended period of time now pushes Marshall, who recently signed with the team after Steve Blake was injured, into the fold as he is the only other viable ball handler on the roster behind Jordan Farmar. In Sunday’s game, Marshall scored eight points on 3-of-5 shooting with three assists in 17 minutes played.  

It will be interesting to see Marshall now a part of the rotation with the critical comments D’Antoni made about him prior to the game against Philadelphia.

“He’s got to be better than the point guard we have out there, and X right now is doing a pretty good job,” D’Antoni said. “And the other thing he has going against him, I don’t know him.  I’ve seen him play maybe two minutes. I don’t think we’re at the point where, ‘Oh, let’s experiment.’ Maybe when we’re going good, but we’re not going to lose games because I’m over here experimenting. I haven’t had time to see him and he’s trying to find his way in the league. He hasn’t established that yet. But we hope that maybe in garbage time in our favor, or something would happen that we’d get a look at him, but I just can’t just grasp straws.”

Nonetheless Marshall will have to step in his new role as it provides a opportunity for him to earn a permanent spot in the rotation.

Photo Credit: Lakers.com

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Bob Garcia IV

Bob Garcia is a sports journalist from Southern California. He was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarcia90.

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