The Philadelphia 76ers will be searching for their 21st victory in 23 games at home when they host the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.
The Sixers’ home record (20-2) is vastly different than their road mark of 9-15.
Philadelphia will face a difficult challenge without All-Star center Joel Embiid for a ninth consecutive game because of a torn ligament on his left hand. Embiid, however, practiced on Friday for the first time since undergoing surgery and hopes to return next week.
In addition to the absence of Embiid, guard Josh Richardson will also be out with a left hamstring strain.
“Somebody has to step up,” point guard Ben Simmons said. “That’s everybody. One guy goes down, everybody has to step up. … So we’re going to miss him (Richardson) for however long it is. But it’s an opportunity for guys to step up and fill that role.”
The Sixers were on a four-game winning streak but lost in Toronto for the 15th straight time in the regular season in a 107-95 defeat on Wednesday.
Tobias Harris led the way with 22 points, but struggled down the stretch.
“We turned the ball over a couple of times in that (late) stretch, which led to them getting out in transition,” Harris said. “On our part, we didn’t get good offensive execution on getting up good shots and good looks that we needed. It’s something that we’ve got to get better at.”
With a revamped roster, the Sixers launched 46 shots from beyond the arc, making 18. Playing again without two key starters, the Sixers will likely continue to become a perimeter-oriented team.
“It was one of our most efficient ways to score,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said.
The Lakers will arrive in Philadelphia fresh off a 128-113 win on the road against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday.
LeBron James will have another chance to continue etching his name in the record books as he needs only 17 points to catch Kobe Bryant to become No. 3 all-time in scoring in NBA history.
James had 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists versus the Nets for his 10th triple-double of the season. James currently has 33,626 points, 17 behind Bryant’s 33,643.
“Anytime I am linked with the greats or I am able to do something in my career where I’m mentioned with the greats is a pretty cool thing,” James said. “But as far as looking at the scoring, I don’t know. That doesn’t mean much to me.”
“Just the overall point of my game is what means more to me,” James said. “Being an all-around player, being able to be successful on the floor and being able to contribute to the franchises that I played for, the three franchises I played for so far in my career.”
Anthony Davis added 16 points and 11 rebounds while Kyle Kuzma had 16 points as the Lakers dropped in a season-best 19 treys.
“Well, just a lot of small ball to be honest,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said of the threes. “I think, obviously, LeBron set the tone early shooting the ball with confidence and finding people.”
The Lakers will enter this matchup with a stellar 36-9 record, including 20-4 on the road.
–Field Level Media