Joel Embiid's 37 points lead Sixers' balanced attack in win over LeBron James, Lakers

Keith Pompey, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Basketball

PHILADELPHIA -- Joel Embiid had 37 points and 14 rebounds as the 76ers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, 143-120, at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday.

The victory improved the Sixers to 36-20 and enabled them to sweep their season series with the Lakers (28-28). The outcome also puts the Eastern Conference's fourth-place squad a game ahead of the Boston Celtics heading into Tuesday's showdown between the Atlantic Division rivals.

On this afternoon, the Sixers shot 57.7 percent from the field, including going 12 of 24 on 3-pointers.

Their sharpshooting and balanced attack enabled them to overcome a 39-point performance by Lakers power forward Kyle Kuzma.

Tobias Harris (22 points), JJ Redick (21), Jimmy Butler (15) and reserves T.J. McConnell (13) and Boban Marjanovic (10) were the Sixers' other double-figure scorers. They had 10 players score at least three points.

Ben Simmons didn't have his best shooting performance, going 3-for-13 en route to finishing with eight points. The All-Star point guard, however, pleased the crowd when he attempted his second 3-pointer of the season. Like his first attempt, Simmons missed. But the crowd was excited that he at least took a shot he had been hesitant to take.

LeBron James (18) and Kuzma didn't play when the Sixers defeated the Lakers, 121-105, back on Jan. 29 at the Staples Center. Meanwhile, Reggie Bullock (two points), who started at shooting guard on Sunday, was a member of the Detroit Pistons at that time.

Kuzma put his imprint on Sunday's game early on.

His made 8-of-11 shots to score 23 first-quarter points. It was the most points scored by a Laker in a first quarter since Kobe Bryant had 23 against the Memphis Grizzlies in March 2008. Kuzma had 27 points at the half.


The Sixers also had a different look from the last time the two teams squared off.

Gone are 2017 first-overall pick Markelle Fultz along with Wilson Chandler, Landry Shamet and Mike Muscala. They were replaced by fringe All-Star talent Harris and Marjanovic, Mike Scott, James Ennis and Jonathon Simmons.

Muscala, who plays for the Lakers, had eight points against his former team.

The nationally televised game came close to being officiated by two referees instead of the usual 3. That's because Kevin Scott became ill and was taken out of the arena. His replacement, Aaron Scott, arrived less than 30 minutes before the start of the game. By league rules, James Phillips and Dedric Taylor would have been the only two officials if Scott didn't get to the arena before the tip-off.

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