The Los Angeles Lakers (10-14) take on the Philadelphia 76ers (12-11) at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday at 3pm Pacific time.
Kobe Bryant makes his annual pilgrimage to the city where he went to Lower Marion High School. Bryant is still the leading scorer in the National Basketball Association, but going home can be a mixed bag for the Lakers superstar.
Last season, the trip to Philadelphia resulted in a Lakers loss, but Bryant scored 28 points, passed 6 assists, and pulled down 5 rebounds. The season prior, Bryant scored only 9 points in 36 minutes, but the Lakers won 93-81. That was the only time Bryant has scored in single digits in the last two seasons.
Bryant is not the only Laker coming home to Philadelphia on Sunday. Bench-stud and three point specialist Jodie Meeks played for the hometown 76ers for the past two and a half seasons. Meeks started across from Bryant last season, but Meeks only managed 23 minutes in the game because Bryant possessed a noticeable height advantage over the shorter Meeks.
As one would expect, Meeks took five three-pointers and made three of them for 9 points.
On the Lakers, Jodie Meeks has finally found his spot in the rotation and on the floor. Over the last seven games, he is averaging just over 13 points in 26 minutes. The fourth year shooting guard out of Kentucky was instrumental in the Lakers’ win against the Washington Wizards on Friday. Meeks had 24 points on 9-14 shooting in DC and was the player of the game.
Meeks and Bryant are two players that have consistently put forward effort this season, but the Lakers team has yet to play a complete 48 minutes. Against Washington, Coach Mike D’Antoni hinted that the team lost its way in the final quarter, and that nearly cost them the game.
The Philadelphia 76ers may not possess the level of talent that Los Angeles puts on the floor, but Coach Doug Collins has a team that plays hard for 48 minutes every night. The Lakers need to take care of the ball and put forth a sustained effort on defense to win on Sunday and return home with a respectable 2-2 road trip record.
Notes: Former Lakers center Andrew Bynum is out injured for the Philadelphia 76ers but has still made several headlines with the Lakers in town. Pau Gasol and Steve Nash remain out injured. Jordan Hill is questionable, so Devin Ebanks will likely make his second consecutive start.