PHILADELPHIA (AP) Steve Nash celebrated his 40th birthday with a vintage performance.
Nash scored a season-high 19 points and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Philadelphia 76ers 112-98 Friday night.
Wesley Johnson and Chris Kaman each scored 17 and six Lakers finished with double-digit points.
Nash, the oldest player in the NBA, played like the guy who was a two-time NBA MVP a decade ago. He had five assists, four rebounds and shot 8 for 15 in just his eighth game of the season.
”I thought I could play well, I could contribute,” he said. ”At this point, I don’t take anything for granted. It’s a grind for me to get ready to play every day. I’m just thrilled I can move out there without restriction and help my team.”
In a way, Nash also helped his opponent by putting on a clinic for the younger guys.
”He’s a great player, always under control, uses his screens well. I can learn a lot from him,” Sixers rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams said.
Tony Wroten scored 16 and Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes each had 15 for Philadelphia, which lost its fifth straight game, seventh in a row at home and 15th of 18 overall.
”It appears we play better on the road,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. ”Everybody wants to do better in our city, in front of our fans.”
The Lakers won their second straight game after losing seven in a row.
A pair of once-proud franchises that last met in the NBA Finals in 2001, both teams are headed for the draft lottery this season. The Sixers own the league’s third-worst record while the Lakers came in tied for seventh-worst.
The Sixers led the entire first half, going up by as many as nine points a few times. Blake hit consecutive 3s for the Lakers to cut it to 64-61 at halftime.
The Lakers took their first lead, 68-67, in the third on Sacre’s dunk. They were up 87-82 when Wroten sank a 62-footer at the buzzer. It was his second shot beyond half court in two games. He made a 58-footer to end the third in a loss to Boston on Wednesday.
Los Angeles pulled away early in the fourth. Kaman and Jordan Hill combined for all the points in a 10-0 run that put the Lakers up 101-90 and the Sixers never recovered.
”It feels great to get two wins in a row,” Kaman said. ”This was satisfying because it was a total team effort. Steve Nash was amazing. He’s incredible to do what he does at age 40. He’s a true professional and we’re lucky to have him.”
After finishing Wednesday’s win at Cleveland with four healthy players and a guy who fouled out, the Lakers had nine active players against the Sixers. Coach Mike D’Antoni used a little-known NBA rule to keep Robert Sacre on the court after he fouled out against the Cavaliers.
They didn’t need any help in Philadelphia. Nash was enough.
”You’re around him and you marvel at what he does,” D’Antoni said of Nash. ”The way he works every day, you watch his speed and he’s about the same speed he was at 30 years old. He’s not real blinding, but he knows how to play. He plays a little bit, he’ll get his legs and he’ll start knocking more shots down.”
NOTES: The seven straight losses at home are Philadelphia’s longest since 1996-97 season. … Nash was MVP in 2004-05 and 2005-06 with Phoenix. … The last 40-year-old to score 19 points in a game was also a Laker. Karl Malone had 20 for Los Angeles against Houston on April 1, 2004. … Lakers guard Kendall Marshall had 10 assists in 20 minutes. The last Laker to do have that many assists in 20 or less minutes was Magic Johnson on March 30, 1989.