In a highly anticipated matchup between two non-conference foes on Sunday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center, the Philadelphia 76ers blew the doors off of the Los Angeles Lakers 143-120.
The Lakers, who just lost to the Sixers a couple of weeks ago at the Staples Center, did not have an answer for the new frontcourt duo of Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris, despite Kyle Kuzma scoring a game-high 39 points.
After a less than stellar performance against the Denver Nuggets on Friday from Embiid, who had 15 points on 5-of-17 shooting from the field and 12 rebounds, Harris shined in his Sixers’ debut scoring 14 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
With that being said, the dynamic duo immediately made their presence felt against the Lakers on Sunday, combining for 59 points and 20 rebounds in the victory.
From the opening tip, you could see that the Sixers were going to their have way inside against the Lakers’ frontcourt duo of Tyson Chandler and JaVale McGee.
While Embiid was dominating in the low post, scoring eight points and grabbing four rebounds in the first quarter, Harris got out to a hot start, scoring eight of the team’s first 14 points.
Harris ended the quarter with 14 points and finished the game with 22 points (9-14 FG, 3-5 3pt), six rebounds, and six assists. Embiid, however, led the Sixers in scoring with 37 points on 12-of-16 shooting from the field and making a ridiculous 11-of-12 from the charity stripe.
After the game, the two-time All-star center was asked about his recent success against the Lakers.
“I don’t know, it goes for both L.A. teams. I must not be a big LA fan,” Embiid said.
“But I don’t know, it’s just—it’s fun. I don’t know, I think I do it with every team, but I’ve been more constantly staying with both the L.A. teams, I got to make sure I do the same thing to every other team.”
Over his three-year career, Embiid is averaging 30.5 points and 9.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game against the Lakers. McGee, who had the tall task of defending Embiid in the post and on the perimeter spoke about the challenges of guarding him.
“He’s a great player, but he also knows how to draw fouls. I think he shot like 13 free throws, so that’s a big part of the game,” he said.
Speaking of free throws, Harris did not get to the line as much as Embiid did on Sunday, but he is slowly figuring out his role with the Sixers.
“I’ve been in a lot of different situations throughout my whole career. Something like I said last game, every new situation you just want to come in and kind of play off the love of the game and let everything else flow from there,” he said.
“A lot goes into it when you’re in a new situation and just trying to fit in the right way. It’s got to be a good balance trying to fit in, but also be aggressive and to play your game. A lot of study, but it’s good because this is a really good team with really good players, great guys, great coach, great coaching staff and guys who want to help.”
If the Sixers can continue to get this same type of production from both Harris and Embiid for the stretch run, they will help this team go far in the playoffs.