The Los Angeles Lakers wrap up an East Coast swing with a visit to face the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday. The Lakers have won two straight coming into this contest, while the 76ers are coming off a loss to the Raptors.
The Lakers have Anthony Davis and LeBron James playing together again, as they have begun to tear opponents apart. They barely got by the Knicks after being blown out by Boston, but at 36-9, they are clearly atop the West for a reason.
The Lakers have depth and great defense at all five positions, with several players to come in and bury the three. And when Jared Dudley and Troy Daniels comprise the final spots on the bench, that’s dangerous.
Philadelphia, on the other hand, has had its ups and downs but will remain without Joel Embiid for this contest. Al Horford has been holding it down in the middle, playing like the guy they thought they had signed this summer.
Ben Simmons had the best game of his life against the Nets and is hoping to showcase his dominance once again in front of a large audience. Unfortunately, the 76ers have lost Josh Richardson for two to three weeks to a hamstring injury, so Matisse Thybulle and Furkan Korkmaz will need to pick up the slack.
The Lakers are 4.5-point favorites for this one, with the moneyline set at -194 for the Lakers and +162 for the 76ers.
Ending The Road Trip
At 36-9 and owners of two of the five best players in the league, life has been good for the Lakers. It has been seven long years since their last trip to the postseason before injuries began to rob Kobe Bryant of his best days. Dwight Howard was actually a part of that Lakers team, though it was not under the same circumstances.
That team also added a very old Steve Nash and had hoped to make it to the Finals. Howard is in a lesser role as the first big off the bench this year as he works back still from playing just nine games in Washington last season.
Kyle Kuzma has had his ups and downs, but his ability to score is still vital for the Lakers. Whether or not he gets traded remains to be seen, but when he’s locked in and hot, this team is at its best.
Going For 30
Coming in off a loss to Toronto, the 76ers are hoping to get back on track and deal the Lakers their 10th loss of the season. They will have to be locked in defensively, something that really isn’t too big of a problem. But Richardson is a great defender that they will miss a little extra Saturday night.
The impressive play of Thybulle on that end of the floor lifts some of the pressure off the other guys, though. They will need James Ennis III to give them good minutes, but this is nothing new. Injuries are a part of the game, and they always adjust as needed.
This matchup will tell us where the 76ers stand through 46 games with the healthy bodies they have.
Lakers Dominate On The Road
Philadelphia is a great home team, but it is going to lose Saturday night. Pick the Lakers for a big win.
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