Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs 76ers – Game 45

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Now that the trade deadline has come and gone, the focus shifts back to basketball and the Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.

 

Lakers vs 76ers
Photo Credit: Philly Voice

Both teams were missing key players, but it was ultimately the 76ers that came away with a 109-101 despite the Lakers making a late comeback attempt. The loss was the fourth straight for the Lakers since LeBron James went down with an injury.

Marc Gasol returned to the lineup after a long absence due to health and safety protocols and had an immediate impact, knocking down a 3-pointer and finding Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for a layup early in the game.

The Lakers were able to get into the bonus early, but the 76ers were able to knock down shots from outside to give them a 15-12 lead.

 

Defensively, both teams tightened things up as Los Angeles and Philadelphia found little space to operate in their half court sets. The Lakers had issues scoring inside with Dwight Howard manning the paint, and as a result they went into the second trailing 27-24.

 

Lakers vs 76ers
Photo Credit: SI.com

Howard was ejected at the end of the first after collecting his second technical foul due to bumping into Montrezl Harrell, opening the floor for the Lakers, and allowing them to get into the painted area. Howard was trying to be the agitator like he did so well for the Lakers in the playoffs last season, but Harrell didn’t take the bait and the refs weren’t having it.  Dennis Schroder, in particular, was able to break down the 76ers defense and either score at the rim or draw free throws.

As has been the case without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers experienced another long scoring drought midway through the period that allowed Philadelphia to retake control. Mike Scott was able to drain a pair of threes to push the 76ers’ lead to nine, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope sparked the Lakers in the final minute, and the two teams went into the half tied at 54.

 

It was a sloppy start to the third as L.A. committed two early turnovers while Philadelphia opened up with three consecutive triples

 

The 76ers remained hot from beyond the arc, capitalizing on weak closeouts from the Lakers defenders and eventually extending their lead to double digits.

Los Angeles’ carelessness with the basketball-only put them in a deeper hole because it allowed Philadelphia to get transition opportunities. Shake Milton managed to hit a contested three right at the buzzer, and the Lakers found themselves down 89-71 after three.

 

The Lakers showed some of life atop the fourth as they played with more energy and pace, forcing a timeout from head coach Doc Rivers.

 

Lakers vs 76ers
Photo Credit: Sportskeeda

Montrezl Harrell did his best to keep Los Angeles afloat, but the team’s defense prevented them from making much of a dent in the deficit.

Even after a Danny Green three that extended the 76ers lead to 12, the Lakers responded with a quick 9-1 run to get back in the game.

The Lakers got as close as three, but Green drilled a contested three, his eighth of the night, to put the game out of reach in the final minute. It was a fitting end for Green, who drew the ire of Lakers fans during last year’s NBA Finals when he seemingly went cold and missed a game-winning shot that forced the Lakers to play the Miami Heat in Game 6.

 

Lakers Injury Notes & Rumors:

 

Lakers vs 76ers
Photo Credit: LA Times

The Los Angeles Lakers seemingly can’t escape their ill-fortune as they failed to strengthen the roster before the Thursday trade deadline – a plan that unexpectedly emerged as an urgent matter after LeBron James joined Anthony Davis on the injury list.

James twisted his ankle in the matinee game against the Atlanta Hawks last weekend. The Lakers eventually fell 99-94 to the Hawks ending the four-game winning streak they opened the second part of the season with. Short two All-Star starters, L.A. lost the following two outings, slipping into fourth in the Western Conference standings.

And it appears that the Lakers have to brace themselves for a long spell without Davis and James. Anthony Davis is looking to return in two, three weeks away-ish. LeBron James, from the time he got hurt last weekend, has an expected four-to-six-week recovery period.

Even though the Lakers failed to lure Kyle Lowry away from Toronto, the trade deadline day wasn’t all doom and gloom for the reigning NBA champions. The Cleveland Cavaliers couldn’t find a suitor for L.A.’s long-term target Andre Drummond, and the two sides are now expected to reach an agreement over a contract buyout.

 

Lakers vs 76ers
Photo Credit: John McCoy/Getty Images

That could pave the way for the Lakers to add one of the NBA’s best rebounder to their roster – and they seem confident Drummond will give their offer serious consideration.

According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, a player who was traded today by the Miami Heat and has familiarity with the Lakers that could be available is Avery Bradley.

If Bradley is available and joins the Lakers, L.A. could use additional ball-handling and off-ball shooting. The unit’s 3-point shooting has largely been inconsistent this year, so attaching a player who has shot 36.5% from deep in his career would be palatable. Not to forget, he has familiarity with the system and with the majority of the players, so that fit would be seamless.

 

 

The Lakers are back at Staples Center tonight to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm. You can watch the game on Spectrum SportsNet.

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Joe Arrigo on Twitter @JoeArrigo

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