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Basketball / Sports

76ers stumble yet again, lose to Lakers

PHILADELPHIA -- It's been a few decades since the 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers have both had losing seasons in the same year. This streak is about to end for these two former marquee NBA franchises that are scrambling for the better lottery position.

In a game that lacked the usual luster, the Lakers defeated the Sixers, 112-98, on Friday night before 15,211 at the Wells Fargo Center.

It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Sixers, the seventh straight at home, and second straight win for the Lakers.

The last time these teams both finished a season below .500 was 1993-94, when the Sixers were 25-57 and Lakers 33-49.

The Sixers (15-36) and Lakers (18-32) will both be challenged to match their records of 1993-94.

At least the Sixers had planned things this way during a massive rebuilding season. But the Lakers, ravaged by injury, are in the unusual position of struggling to field a competitive team.

And a healthy one also.

The Lakers limped into town with several banged-up bodies. Not making the trip was Lower Merion's own and future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, who has played only six games and is out with a fractured left knee.

Four-time all-star Pau Gasol (groin) is also among the injured, a list that includes former Sixers Jodie Meeks (sprained right ankle) and Nick Young (left knee).

The Lakers' lone marquee name was point guard Steve Nash, who certainly wasn't acting his age on his 40th birthday. Because of a back injury, this was only his eighth game this season, but Nash had 19 points, five assists, and two turnovers in 28-plus minutes.

"I thought I was going to see a physical letup and I didn't see much," Sixers coach Brett Brown said about Nash. "I thought our young guys, our long guys would get into him and bother him, and they really didn't."

Sixers rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams guarded Nash, but wasn't defended by him. Carter-Williams had 10 points, 7 assists, and 4 turnovers, while shooting 4 for 12.

"He is always under control, uses his screens well, and he is a great player," Carter-Williams said of Nash. "I could learn a lot from him."

Nash's passion for the game, even with a Lakers team hopelessly out of postseason contention, is what fuels him.

"I love the game and when you realize it's gone, you have to make the most of it," Nash said.

Aiding the Lakers effort was Wesley Johnson and Chris Kaman, who each scored 17 points. The Sixers had seven players in double figures, with Tony Wroten scoring 16 points and Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner each adding 15.

The Sixers hit a season-high 15 three-pointers, but committed 23 turnovers.

They trailed, 87-85, after three quarters and it would have been worse had Wroten not hit a three-quarter-court three-pointer at the buzzer.

Wroten ended the third quarter of Wednesday's 114-108 loss to the Boston Celtics with a 58-foot, three-quarter-court shot. The one against the Lakers was 62 feet.

The Sixers were unable to ride the momentum of Wroten's shot and were outscored, 25-13, in the fourth quarter.

(c)2014 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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