Kobe Bryant might have been the headliner but Lou Williams stole the show. After an amazing first half that saw KB24 drop 24 and move ahead of Shaq on the all-time scoring list it would be Williams that took over in the clutch and put this game to sleep.
No real surprise that the Lakers would struggle on offense. That is nothing new plus the 76ers are the league’s best defensive unit. What was tough to digest was seeing the Lakers’ offense revert to standing around and watching Kobe with the game on the line.
Bryant’s second half was equally forgettable to how memorable his first half was. 4 second half points was all Bryant could amount to while Williams hit clutch shot after clutch shot to the lead Sixers with 24 points and most important to a 95-90 win.
This road trip is at his midpoint and what we’ve come to expect of this Laker team continues.
John Kuester took his turn running the show while Mike Brown sat in the hotel and ate a cheesesteak. Brown will be back on the bench in Boston having served his one game suspension for the Utah meltdown. However tonight it didn’t matter who was calling the shots.
As usual Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum were the only Lakers in double figures. Gasol and Bynum combined for 36 points and 31 rebounds. You’d think those numbers would ensure victory.
That’s not the case when the Lakers start getting away from getting the ball inside instead relying on the let-Kobe-do-it-all approach.
Bryant’s game evaporated in the second half. He forced almost every shot he took after halftime. However the Lakers had a lead with 4 minutes to play. Again those usual problems in the clutch came to focus.
The L.A. offense disappeared with one Bryant brick after another while their defense was destroyed by Williams.
How the Lakers can lose despite outrebounding Philly by an amazing 55-30 total reveals all you need to know of their continued struggles on the road. With the game on the line the Lakers go away from their interior advantage. For whatever reason Kobe jacking up threes becomes a better option than letting Bynum pound it inside.
If this sounds like a broken record its because the Lakers are a broken team.
Doug Collins’ team is a tough group that kept pace with the Lakers all night. This game was a back and forth battle that saw the younger Sixers school the veteran Lakers. After two straight wins on the road the Lakers have dropped two. Up next are the rival Celtics in a nationally televised game. It might be too early to start talking about must-win games but Thursday certainly has that feel.