Well, there was no encore performance for Shake Milton.
While the Sixers hung in the game, they just didn’t have the manpower to compete with the powerful Lakers in a 120-107 loss at Staples Center Tuesday night.
A game after Milton dropped 39 points against the Clippers on the very same floor, he was just solid Tuesday with 12 points.
The Sixers were without Joel Embiid (left shoulder sprain), Ben Simmons (nerve impingement in lower back) and Josh Richardson (concussion).
The loss drops the Sixers to 9-23 on the road and 37-25 overall. Their West Coast swing continues Thursday in Sacramento against the Kings (10 p.m./NBCSP).
Here are observations from the loss:
Too much Lakers
LeBron James and Anthony Davis would’ve presented problems even if the Sixers were fully healthy. Without arguably their three best defensive players, they were fully outmanned and outgunned, which is why Brett Brown changed up his defensive looks, throwing a bunch of 2-3 zone at the Lakers.
While Brown did it out of clear desperation, the results were mixed. It went poorly with James in the game as he just picked the zone apart with his elite court vision (14 assists). The reality is there’s no defensive strategy the Sixers could’ve deployed that would’ve helped. The Lakers just had far too much talent on the floor.
L.A. went on a 34-10 run to end the second quarter and took the game over behind Davis and James. Though the Sixers fought in the second half, that stretch proved to be the difference.
Still need more from Horford and Harris
Al Horford was mostly solid early in this one, playing Davis tough, but several of the issues that have plagued him arose again as the game went on.
He struggled to shoot from the outside (2 of 8 from the floor), couldn’t finish at the rim and just looked a step slow. At a time when the Sixers have really needed Horford to be the guy they paid for, he has not done so. It’s fair to note that Horford could be seen on the broadcast getting ice and treatment on his left knee on the bench. He’s missed time this season because of soreness in that knee and left hamstring tightness.
Davis cooked Horford and the Sixers to the tune of 37 points.
Tobias Harris showed the aggressiveness the Sixers needed from him early. Unfortunately, he got called for his third foul — a ticky-tack one on Dwight Howard — late in the second. The Lakers then proceeded to go on an 18-4 run to close the quarter and take an 11-point lead into the locker room.
Harris took just eight shots in the second half, including just three in the fourth quarter for the second straight game. With no Embiid, Simmons and Richardson, and Horford continuing to struggle, it’s an awful lot to ask of Harris to carry this team offensively. At home against the Knicks is one thing. On the road against a team like the Lakers proved to be too much.
Looking for the positives
If there’s going to be a general positive from this West Coast swing that the Sixers have now started 0-2, it’s that we’ve seen a couple players show they can contribute.
While it didn’t seem likely Milton would repeat his 39-point performance, the second-year guard has proven he can be a useful piece for the Sixers down the stretch.
On Tuesday, Glenn Robinson III finally looked like the player the Sixers traded for. He was strong on both ends in this one and finally hit his first three as a Sixer — and went 3 of 5 in the game — after starting 0 for 11 with his new team. His ability to cut should prove to be a strong asset when Simmons returns to the lineup. He tied a career high with 25 points.
Though the stat sheet won’t show it, Matisse Thybulle also had a strong night in a tough environment. He was forced on to James multiple times and did quite well. He was active, recording three offensive rebounds. While his outside shooting struggles continued, he showed how he can still make an impact.
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.