Sixers-Lakers observations: Joel Embiid posts career-high 46 points

Sixers-Lakers observations: Joel Embiid posts career-high 46 points


LOS ANGELES — After a summer of hype and banter, it was all about Joel Embiid in the Sixers’ 115-109 win over the Lakers at the STAPLES Center on Wednesday night.

The Sixers’ first matchup of the season against the Lakers had nothing to do with LaVar Ball or swapping insults. Embiid put together a ridiculous 46-point performance, including 28 in the second half. He shot 14 for 20 from the field, 16 for 19 from the line and 2 for 3 from beyond the arc. Embiid added 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks (more on the history behind the numbers). Did I mention, he did all of that in 34 minutes?

Ball, on the other hand, disappeared on the court. He scored only two points off 1 for 9 shooting from the field and 0 for 6 from three. Ball grabbed five boards and dished two assists in 21 minutes. He did not play in the fourth quarter.

The Sixers improved to 8-6 overall with the win and capped off their five-game road trip with a 3-2 mark.

• It was just another day at work for Ben Simmons. He recorded his ninth double-double with 18 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists in 39 minutes (see highlights). He also added five steals.

Simmons continued to elevate. He had two dunks in the opening four minutes alone. The matchup between Simmons and Kyle Kuzma turned out to be more intriguing to watch than Simmons and Ball. Simmons and Kuzma are similarly matched in height. 

• The Sixers’ 13-point lead halfway through the first quarter was nearly erased by the end of the frame when the Lakers closed on a 9-3 run. Second quarter, repeat. The Sixers lost hold of a 10-point advantage with two minutes to go in the half and were up just four after two periods. 

• The third was bookended by ties. The Sixers went cold at the end of the quarter, scoring just three points in the final 4:51 as the Lakers took an 84-83 lead. The Sixers fed off Embiid in the fourth and outscored the Lakers 10-5 to end the game. 

• The three-point shooting was hard to watch. The Lakers went 3 for 26 (11.5 percent) from long range, which barely edged out by the Sixers’ 7-for-32 (21.9 percent) performance. JJ Redick uncharacteristically shot 0 for 8 from distance in 34 minutes and Dario Saric struggled (1 for 7). 

On the other side, an 0 for 5 Brook Lopez added to Ball’s 0-for-6 outing. 

• The young potential of each team was obvious as was the inexperience at times, from turnovers to runs to technical fouls. The Sixers gave up 15 points off 16 turnovers. 

• Before the game, Robert Covington’s teammates echoed the same sentiment around the locker room about his contract extension: well-deserved. The four-year deal is not finalized yet (see story)

• Kuzma didn’t just try to dunk on Embiid, he tried to demolish the basket. He ended up drawing the foul, but showed zero hesitation going up against the Sixers’ big man. 

• Injury update: Jerryd Bayless (left wrist), Markelle Fultz (right shoulder) and Nik Stauskas (right ankle) were sidelined on the Sixers’ bench. Larry Nance Jr. (left hand) was out for the Lakers. 

Allen Iverson gives Sixers all he has from crowd in comeback

Allen Iverson gives Sixers all he has from crowd in comeback


Allen Iverson intently watched the Sixers pull out a 120-116 win over the Nets Friday standing on the court of the Wells Fargo Center (see observations)

After the buzzer sounded, he gave an impromptu postgame press conference as he walked through the room where Brett Brown addresses the media. 

“I’m very familiar with this right here,” Iverson said, laying his hand on the podium. 

When the topic of his desire to get in the game and still play came up, the 42-year-old Hall of Famer replied, “I always want to help, but I’m too old to help. I can’t help no more … I can’t play no more. “The Answer” has gone to heaven and Allen Iverson is still here.” 

Iverson was very much a part of the game from the sidelines. He stood during the final stretch in the fourth quarter, enthusiastically reacted to calls, and high-fived fans as the Sixers closed out the victory in the final seconds. 

“It’s awesome,” Ben Simmons said. “He wants us to win. He’s behind us. He can obviously see we have a lot of potential, which is awesome coming from him.” 

Iverson made a request about the Sixers, who at 38-30 are chasing a return to the playoffs and possibly home-court advantage. 

“Treat my ‘little dudes,’” Iverson said with air quotes, referencing how he described the players in an interview last week, “treat them right and give them a chance.”

The Sixers noticed Iverson's encouragement. 

“I saw him, I saw the support,” Joel Embiid said. “I like it. Like he said, we are his little dudes. I appreciate the support.” 

Goran Dragic helps Heat snap road losing streak

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Goran Dragic helps Heat snap road losing streak

LOS ANGELES — Goran Dragic scored 30 points, including a go-ahead jumper in the final seconds, and the Miami Heat beat the Los Angeles Lakers 92-91 on Friday night.

Miami trailed 91-90 after Kyle Kuzma made a 3-pointer for Los Angeles with 1:23 left. But Dragic got the lead back for the Heat with about 15 seconds remaining and Isaiah Thomas missed a 10-foot fallaway jumper at the buzzer for the Lakers.

Kelly Olynyk scored 17 points for Miami. James Johnson had 12 points, and Bam Adebayo added 11 points and eight rebounds.

The road win left the Heat 15 1/2 games back in the Eastern Conference, in a virtual tie with Milwaukee for seventh. Miami (37-33) has played two more games than the Bucks (see full recap).

DeRozan lifts Raptors to 11th straight win
TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan made the game-winning basket in overtime and the Toronto Raptors rallied to match the longest winning streak in franchise history, extending their season-best run to 11 by beating the Dallas Mavericks 122-115 on Friday night.

DeRozan scored 29 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 21 points and 12 rebounds as the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors won for the 18th time in 19 games. Kyle Lowry got the night off to rest as the Raptors played the second game of the back-to-back.

Delon Wright and Fred VanVleet each scored 14 points, helping Toronto improved to an NBA-best 29-5 at home.

Dallas had won three of four. Harrison Barnes scored 27 points for the Mavericks, Dennis Smith Jr. had 19 and J.J. Barea 18 (see full recap).

Rozier, Celtics hold off Magic
ORLANDO, Fla. — Terry Rozier and Greg Monroe each scored 17 points, helping the Boston Celtics beat the Orlando Magic 92-83 on Friday night.

Boston stopped a two-game losing streak despite shooting just 37.8 percent from the field. Al Horford had 15 points for the Celtics, and Abdel Nader finished with 11.

Orlando lost for the sixth time in seven games. Reserve Shelvin Mack scored 13 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter. Jonathon Simmons and D.J. Augustin had 13 apiece (see full recap).

Shorthanded Warriors fall at home to Kings
OAKLAND, Calif. — Buddy Hield made three free throws over the final 27.5 seconds, Willie Cauley-Stein had a late dunk and the Sacramento Kings won for the second time this season on Golden State's home floor, beating a Warriors team missing its top three scorers 98-93 on Friday night.

Hield finished with 22 points off the bench. He also had seven assists and seven rebounds.

Quinn Cook scored a career-high 25 points on 10-for-13 shooting for Golden State, making his initial seven shots and also hitting a career-best five 3-pointers after Kevin Durant was lost to a broken rib in a discouraging pregame announcement for the defending champions.

Draymond Green returned from a one-game injury absence to produce 14 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and two blocked shots (see full recap).