76ers

Summer League: Sixers fall victim to huge effort from Lonzo Ball in loss to Lakers

Summer League: Sixers fall victim to huge effort from Lonzo Ball in loss to Lakers

LAS VEGAS — LeBron James watched from the baseline as the Lakers beat the Sixers, 103-102, in dramatic fashion in the first round of tournament play in the Las Vegas Summer League on Wednesday night.

Second overall pick Lonzo Ball scored 36 points with 11 assists, eight rebounds and five steals. Ball dropped 28 of those points in the second half (see highlights).

The game went down to the wire after the Lakers battled back from a 15-point third-quarter deficit. 

The Sixers led, 97-94, with 1:30 to go. Furkan Korkmaz hit a three and Kyle Kuzma answered with one on the other end. Korkmaz attempted another three but air-balled the shot. Kuzma then did the same. 

Jonah Bolden fouled Ball, who made one of two free throw attempts. Larry Drew II was then blocked and Ball connected on a three-point play off the fast break, giving the Lakers a 101-100 lead with 20 seconds to play. 

The game was far from over. James Blackmon Jr. drove to the basket to put the Sixers back up, 102-101, with 5.9 seconds left. Bolden fouled Ivica Zubac and this time the Lakers made both, just enough for the win.

Inside the box score
• Korkmaz led the Sixers with 19 points.

• In all, five Sixers scored in double figures (Korkmaz 19, Alex Poythress 16, Drew 15, Blackmon 12 and Isaiah Briscoe 12).

• Kuzma recorded a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

• Zubac notched 21 points on 7 for 11 shooting.

• The Lakers shot 51.4 percent for the game compared to 47.0 percent for the Sixers.

• The two teams combined for 39 turnovers.

Injury update
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot exited with 5:56 left in the fourth quarter and did not return after getting hit in the face. He suffered a lacerated lip last Saturday and needed five stitches, which stayed intact despite the shot taken on Wednesday.

Tech help?
Forget about destroying the ball on a block. Poythress literally broke someone’s computer screen with a fierce swat in the third quarter. 

Up next
The Sixers will play in the consolation round on Friday night against the Bulls at 8:30 ET.

Back-to-backs still not part of the plan for Joel Embiid … just yet

usa-joel-embiid-76ers.jpg
USA Today Images

Back-to-backs still not part of the plan for Joel Embiid … just yet

Joel Embiid does not expect to play in the Sixers’ first back-to-back Saturday. 

“I’m not playing tomorrow. No back-to-backs yet,” he said before Friday’s game. “I don’t think so. I’ve got to check on that again. But there’s a plan in place and that’s what I’m going to follow.”

The Sixers faced the Celtics on Friday in their home opener and then will travel to Toronto Saturday night to take on the Raptors. It is their first of 14 pairs of back-to-back matchups this season. He projects he will eventually be cleared for them. 

“This year, there’s not a lot of back-to-backs,” Embiid said. “I feel like I’ll miss some but I’m not sure when. But I’ll definitely play some back-to-backs this year.”

Embiid has yet to be cleared for consecutive games in his injury-hampered career. It is important for him for reach that checkmark.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said. 

Sitting out Saturday will not bump up his minutes Friday, Embiid said. He played 26:57 in the season opener Wednesday and is eyeing somewhere around 20 against the Celtics. Brett Brown is managing his playing time within a range, not a specific restriction like last season. 

The key to being cleared for more minutes and back-to-backs? Staying away from injuries. 

“I’ve got to balance it out because I’m ultra-competitive so I want to get out there, jump in the stands, dive for every loose ball,” Embiid said. “But at the same time, I’ve to find a balance in between staying healthy and doing all that.”