Friday, October 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Sixers Face A Struggling Lakers Team

It’s almost like a reflex action to put the Los Angeles Lakers as championship contenders, but the team that visits the Sixers on Monday night looks far from being a juggernaut.

Sixers Face A Struggling Lakers Team

The Sixers have eight players averaging between nine and 15 points per game.  (John Bazemore/AP)
The Sixers have eight players averaging between nine and 15 points per game. (John Bazemore/AP)

It’s almost like a reflex action to put the Los Angeles Lakers as championship contenders, but the team that visits the Sixers on Monday night looks far from being a juggernaut.

While the Lakers are usually hands-down favorites against the Sixers, it doesn’t have that feel for this game.

Certainly Miami was expected to beat the Sixers on Friday and the Heat complied with a 32-16 fourth quarter enroute to the 99-79 victory.

Yet at this point, the Lakers aren’t the Heat, except for the fact that the television networks still gravitate toward both teams.

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Do the 76ers have any chance against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers Monday night?
Absolutely. The Sixers are playing like contenders.
 
  514 (73.2%)
Maybe if Kobe and the Lakers have a bad night.
 
  105 (15.0%)
No way. The Sixers still can’t beat the real good teams.
 
  83 (11.8%)
Total votes = 702

The Lakers have more star power, but the Sixers posses more balance. And are a much better defensive team.

Los Angeles has three players scoring in double figures, Kobe Bryant (29.4 ppg.), Andrew Bynum (17.0 ppg.) and Pau Gasol (16.5 ppg.).

After that, the next highest scorer is Steve Blake (7.3 ppg.) who doesn’t exactly scare the opposition. Yes, Derek Fisher can hit an occasional big trey, but he’s shooting just 29.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Defenses are taking their chances with Fisher shooting the ball instead, of Bryant or any other better options.

The Sixers meanwhile have six players averaging double figures and two more averaging 9 or more points per game. That's eight players averaging between 9 and 15 points.

It’s said that in the NBA that championships are won with superstars and few dispute that fact. Yet the Sixers don’t’ have any superstars and have done a great job improvising.

To win at Atlanta a night after that loss to the Heat shows the Sixers resiliency.

By the way, this is not to suggest that beating the Lakers will be easy.

Any team facing Bryant, better be ready to fight all game long.

Yet it does appear to be a role reversal at this point.

So if the Sixers win, impressive as it may be, just don’t call it an upset, not this year, at this point of the season. 

Marc Narducci Inquirer Columnist
About this blog

Keith Pompey is in his first season covering the Sixers for The Inquirer after covering the Temple men’s basketball team for the past three years and Temple football the past two seasons.

Marc Narducci has served in a variety of roles with the Inquirer since beginning in 1983. He has covered the 76ers as a backup and a beat writer. In addition, Narducci has covered everything from the Super Bowl to the World Series and a lot in between.

Narducci also has a true passion for South Jersey scholastic sports, which he has covered for many years.

Keith Pompey Inquirer Staff Writer
Marc Narducci Inquirer Columnist
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