The losses have been piling up for the banged-up Los Angeles
Lakers, even at home.
Hosting the league’s worst road team may be just what they need
to turn things around.
Los Angeles tries to end a season-high four-game losing streak
Sunday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Lakers (13-17) have lost four straight overall and four of
five at home, beset by injury yet again. Already without the likes
of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Steve Blake, Los Angeles was sans
Pau Gasol on Friday at Utah due to respiratory infection, which
coach Mike D’Antoni said will also make him a game-time decision
Los Angeles came up short against Utah, losing 105-103 after
Derrick Favors’ putback dunk with 2.1 seconds remaining. Jodie
Meeks missed a 3-pointer as time expired.
Chris Kaman will also be a game-time decision due to an ankle
injury after scoring a season-high 19 in Gasol’s place against the
D’Antoni said confidence has been the missing ingredient for his
“We had it rolling for a while. We got knocked back on our heels
with a couple of injuries,” he said. “But we need to win one and
we’ll build from there. But I think we’re close and they’re giving
all they got.
“We’re scrambling a little bit, but in the meantime these guys
have played with focus and purpose. We feel like we’re ready to
turn the corner.”
The 76ers (8-21) have struggled on the road all season. They won
at Washington in their first road game on Nov. 1 but have since
dropped all 13 contests away from home.
They were without Evan Turner due to a sore right knee Saturday
in Phoenix, and although Thaddeus Young scored 30 and Michael
Carter-Williams added 27 they still fell 115-101. Turner, who
averages a team-high 19.3 points, is expected to play Sunday in the
third stop on a six-game trip.
“I think I might have aggravated it the past couple days in
practice maybe,” said Turner, who missed his first game this
season. “I think coach was just being precautionary. I was going to
try to play tonight but he thought it’d be a better idea for me to
play tomorrow and take it from there as opposed to playing
Turner’s presence Sunday, however, might not necessarily help
alleviate Philadelphia’s issues. On the road, the 76ers are
allowing teams to shoot 48.1 percent, with opponents scoring at
least 102 points in regulation in all but one contest.
They surrendered 31 fast-break points against the Suns and are
giving up an average of 18.4 per road game.
“We’re not going to win games giving up 30 fast-break points,”
Carter-Williams said. “So we’ve got to get back on mistakes, and
that starts with me getting back and when I get back, that leads
everyone else getting back.”
Lakers guard Nick Young will play against his former team for
the first time after averaging 10.6 points in 59 games for
Philadelphia last season. He’s averaging 20.9 points over his last
seven games while going 20 for 42 from 3-point range. He scored
14.4 per game in the previous 23 contests while shooting 34.8
percent from beyond the arc.