Tonight will be the 284th game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Lakers are 146-137 in their respective matchups. The Lakers and Sixers also have quite the playoff history.
The two teams have met six times in the playoffs — all coming in the NBA Finals — with the Lakers winning five of those encounters. Their most recent collision was back in 2001 when Allen Iverson led an overachieving 76ers team against one of the most dominant duos ever in Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.
Last season, both teams split their two meetings, but the game we remember most took place on January 25th in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center.
With 7:23 left in the third quarter, James’ driving layup gave him 33,644 points, officially pushing him ahead of Kobe Bryant (33,643) for No.3 on the scoring list (James trails only Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) now). The Lakers lost that game 108-91, but the story of the night was James passing Bryant on the all-time leading scorer list.
When James takes the court against Philadelphia later today, he will do so for the fifty-second time in his storied career. His 38-13 record is one of the best against any team he has faced over the years. He averages 27.3 points, 7.3. rebounds and 8.0 assist in 38.3 minutes per game against the 76ers.
The defending champion Lakers are off to another fast start with a 14-4 record this season. They are first in defensive efficiency and second in points per game allowed behind the New York Knicks.
The 76ers, led by early-season MVP candidate Joel Embiid, currently sit atop the Eastern Conference with a 12-6 record. Much of their success is because of Embiid’s dominant performances night-in-night-out. On the season he averages 27.7 points and 11.5 rebounds on 55% shooting in just 31.6 minutes per game.
Is this Los Angeles Lakers-Philadelphia 76ers matchup a preview of this year’s NBA Finals?
I know, I know. The Brooklyn Nets featuring three of the league’s most prolific scorers in Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden, are the attractive pick to make it out of the East.
And you would be hard-pressed to find an NBA fan who wants to see the Lakers and Nets do battle on the NBA’s biggest stage more than me. But at the moment, the Sixers do something the Nets don’t do well: play defense.
There is still a lot of NBA season left, but these two historic franchises could lock horns come June.