In a battle between two rebuilding ball clubs, the Philadelphia 76er’s outdueled the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night at the Staples Center 115-109 a night after they handed the Clippers their sixth straight loss.
With the struggling Lonzo Ball watching most of the festivities from the sidelines, the young trio of Jordan Clarkson, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram put up a tough fight against a team that’s determined to wash away the bitter taste of last year’s dreadful 10-72 season.
The lead exchanged a handful of times as the Lakers hung around to the bitter end like a party of patrons not wanting to heed a bartender’s demand for, “last call.”
But the boys from the City of Brotherly Love were not up for socializing past closing time and the Lakers were no match for Philadelphia center Joel Embiid who was virtually unstoppable, scoring a career-high 46 points, with 15 boards, seven blocks and seven assists. The uncontainable Cameroon put on a clinic everywhere he roamed – from long-range, to the post, at the rim, and in transition.
Sixer rookie Ben Simmons was no slouch, as well, adding 18 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, falling one shy of a triple double.
Ingram led Los Angeles with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Laker rookie Kuzma added 24 points with a series of lobbed high lay-ups off the glass, while Clarkson cashed in 20 off the bench.
After the game questions surrounding Ball’s second consecutive no show in the fourth quarter surfaced to Laker coach Luke Walton. Ball played a mere 21 minutes scoring two points to go along with five rebounds and two assists on 1-of-9 shooting, missing all six of his signature three-point attempts. “Why do I think he had an off night?” answered Lakers coach Luke Walton. “I don’t know, because he’s 20 years old and plays the toughest position in the NBA? Someone else will have an off night tomorrow. Tonight it didn’t seem like he had it.”
Fifteen games into the season may be too early to panic, but the son of a controversial father, and sibling of a recently suspended UCLA basketball-playing brother does not seem to have his head in the game.