Thursday, September 29 2022

Without LeBron James, who was ruled out due to left knee soreness, the Los Angeles Lakers put up a strong fight against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday at Crypto.com Arena.

L.A. took an early lead and was up by as much as seven in the second quarter, but in the end, Philly just had too much talent for the shorthanded Lakers to deal with, as it won 126-121.

Most valuable player candidate Joel Embiid had 30 points and 10 rebounds, while young gun Tyrese Maxey posted 21 points and seven assists for the visiting Sixers.

Just a week or two ago, the Lakers might’ve gotten blown out by a team such as Philly without James. Tonight, however, they fought hard against a much more talented team and give it all it could handle.

There is no such thing as a moral victory at this level, but Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has to be encouraged by how his team lost tonight.

Stanley Johnson: A

Johnson was red-hot offensively, shooting 5-of-7 from the field and hitting on all three of his 3-point attempts for 13 points while getting five rebounds in 35 minutes. He also gave the Lakers a boost in an unexpected area by dishing off eight assists.

He has simply been a revelation for a team that badly needed at least one young, defensive-minded backup forward such as him.

Wenyen Gabriel: B-

As he did in Cleveland on Monday, Gabriel could not buy a shot from the perimeter, missing all three of his 3-point attempts. But he hit four other field goals, and although he shot just 4-of-11 overall, he looked to move without the ball and showed good effort following his shots on the offensive boards.

Gabriel had nine rebounds in 30 minutes, and although defensively he looked outmatched at times, he did block two shots.

If he starts to consistently hit the outside shot, and especially if he improves his individual defense, he could earn himself a spot on next season’s Laker team.

Austin Reaves: C+

Although Reaves couldn’t get much done defensively against taller defenders, he did have two steals. Offensively, he was ineffective, shooting just 2-of-6 from the field and missing his lone 3-point attempt.

Dwight Howard: A+

Howard couldn’t contain Embiid, but other than that, he took the Hot Tub Time Machine about a decade into the past and gave everyone a reminder of what he used to do with regularity not too long ago.

He shot 9-of-14 from the field while drawing multiple fouls and making 6-of-9 from the free throw line for 24 points in 28 minutes. He also grabbed eight rebounds and added one steal and one block.

Russell Westbrook: B+

For most of the game, Westbrook struggled to hit shots, and he also committed seven of the Lakers’ 12 turnovers.

But he came on strong late, scoring 12 points in the fourth quarter as L.A. made a late run to challenge the Sixers.

Westbrook shot 10-of-20 overall from the field, including 2-of-5 from downtown, while also notching nine rebounds and eight assists.

This was his fourth consecutive very good performance. Perhaps he has truly elevated his game after an inconsistent and disappointing first 60-something contests this season.

Carmelo Anthony: A-

Anthony did his job very well tonight, hitting 8-of-15 from the field to score 20 points while grabbing seven rebounds in 31 minutes.

The reason we gave him an A- instead of an A was that he was just 2-of-6 from 3-point range, while his defense left something to be desired. But overall Anthony played very well and did his part to give the Lakers a chance to win.

Malik Monk: A-

Monk, at times, helped carry the Lakers’ offense and took the initiative to keep his team in the game, scoring 23 points in 32 minutes on 10-on-20 shooting from the field.

Unfortunately, he was only able to hit 3-of-9 from downtown, as the Sixers did a good job of limiting his good looks from the distance.

D.J. Augustin: B

In 22 minutes off the bench, Augustin was solid. He made 2-of-4 shots from the field to finish with five points, along with four rebounds and four assists.

The Lakers, however, could’ve used a little more from him offensively, especially since they played just eight men tonight.

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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