Surging Sixers sink slumping Lakers
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Andre Iguodala posted 31 points and eight
rebounds, as the Philadelphia 76ers wrapped up a perfect six-game homestand
with a 108-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Andre Miller notched 23 points and eight assists for Philadelphia, which won a
season-high six straight games and improved to 16-15 at the Wachovia Center in
2006-07. Kyle Korver netted 18 points and Samuel Dalembert had 12 points and
16 boards for the Sixers, who have won seven in a row as the host.
Kobe Bryant scored 30 points for Los Angeles, which has lost five straight and
closed out a winless four-game road trip. Shammond Williams scored 14 points,
and Kwame Brown posted 11 points and 10 rebounds for Los Angeles, which has
lost 11 of its last 14 games.
Bryant, who returned after a one-game suspension for his elbow to Marko
Jaric’s head in Tuesday night’s double-overtime loss to Minnesota, finished
12-for-27 from the field and 3-for-7 beyond the arc.
The Lakers shot out to an early 14-6 lead midway through the first quarter,
highlighted by three Bryant jumpers. The Sixers responded with a 24-12 run
down the stretch, capped by a pair of three-pointers by Korver and Iguodala in
the final minute, for a 30-26 lead heading into the second.
LA reclaimed control by opening the second quarter on a 17-7 run finished on a
Bryant three-point play with 7:53 remaining. The burst put the Lakers ahead
43-37, but the Sixers rallied on a 6-2 run in the final three minutes to keep
Philly’s deficit to just 57-51 at halftime.
And that momentum carried over. The Sixers burst out of the locker room on a
20-3 run, the last eight points of which came from Iguodala, for a 71-60
advantage midway through the third.
“When you are playing one of the best players in the game in Kobe Bryant,
you’re going to get energized,” Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. “He’s been
playing like that for a while. It has nothing to do with Kobe Bryant. It has
to do with how Andre has been maturing as a player. I just think Andre has
been taking his game to another level.”
After Brian Cook’s jumper 33 seconds into the fourth, the Sixers went on an
11-1, run ended by Miller’s jumper with 7:05 to go, for a comfortable 94-78
lead heading down the stretch.
But, the Lakers weren’t finished. They answered with a 12-4 spurt highlighted
by five Bryant points to trail just 98-90 with 3:25 remaining.
The Sixers then hit five unanswered free throws, which ignited a 10-2 run to
finish the game in front of the first sell-out crowd at the Wachovia Center
“Execution just fails us because we don’t have the guys out there that know
the intricacies of the offense,” Bryant said. “This late in the season, teams
are going to overplay you and make you go deep in your offense. That’s when
you need that experience in guys who’ve been in the system to counteract that.
It’s been kind of hard for us as of late.”
Forward Ronny Turiaf (back spasms) remained sidelined for the
Lakers…Friday’s showdown was the second and final meeting this season. The
Lakers won the first encounter, 104-94, on December 31 at the Staples Center.
Bryant scored 35 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists to
lead the way…Philadelphia has won five of the last eight meetings, while the
Lakers have lost seven straight and nine of their last 10 trips to the City of
Brotherly Love…Sixers general manager Billy King announced Cheeks will
return to guide the team for the 2007-08 season.