For the first time in good long while, the Los Angeles Lakers put on a dominating performance without having their backs up against a wall. The Lakers beat the Philadelphia 76ers 111-98 to bring their overall record to 11-14.
Kobe Bryant returned home to the city where he played high school basketball, and Kobe put on a mesmerizing performance. He led all scorers with 34 points, making it the eighth time in nine games that the Mamba scored 30 or more points. His only under-30 point game during this recent flurry was in a blowout victory over New Orleans when Kobe only scored 29 points in 34 minutes.
Kobe put on a vintage performance with 6 assists and 4 rebounds to go along with a catalog of trick shots and sweeping hooks. The crowd would ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ at every Mamba movement, and Kobe did not disappoint with his fancy dribbling or impossible shot making. When Kobe finally left the floor late in the fourth quarter with the game in hand, he left to a standing ovation from the 76ers fans still in attendance.
Unlike the win against Washington on Friday, the Lakers sustained a consistent level of ball movement on offense and active energy on defense. Metta World Peace was a major contributor on both ends of the floor with a stat-line that deserves praise: 19 points, 16 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks.
World Peace was 3-4 from three-point land and a major contributor to the Lakers’ hot streak from behind the arc. The Lakers went into the halftime break 10-15 from long range with Darius Morris coming off the bench to hit 3-3 from distance.
Morris was a perfect 5-5 from the field with 2 assists and a career high 15 points in the first half as the Lakers led 60-50.
In the second half, the Lakers put forth the positive effort required to shut the door on the 76ers despite going cold from the three-point line. The Lakers only shot 4-19 from behind the arc in the second half, but they never allowed Philadelphia back into the game.
The 76ers closed within 8 points at the start of the second half, but the Lakers promptly increased the lead to 17 points before the end of the third period. The home team made another run in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to single digits with a little over 8 minutes remaining. However, the Lakers replied by quickly opening the largest lead of the game at 18 points.
Shockingly, Sunday’s win marked the first Lakers’ winning streak since Mike D’Antoni took the sidelines. Unlike the win against the Wizards, this win was worth celebrating for fans, players, and the coach.