The latest NBA news is that the Philadelphia 76ers have ended their 18 game losing streak by defeating Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, according to ESPN.
Upon losing to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, the 76ers tied the record for worst start to an NBA season. Their 0-18 record matched that of the one held by the then New Jersey Nets in 2009. A loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at the Wells Fargo Center would mean that Philadelphia stands alone in NBA infamy. Despite all of his issues off the court, rookie center Jahlil Okafor was intent on making sure that his career did not start with such a dubious distinction. He wanted to beat the Lakers badly.
As far as the Lakers are concerned, they came into the City of Brotherly Love wanting to provide as many happy moments for Bryant as possible before he steps away from the NBA. Los Angeles wants to bond together and do well for their embattled leader. Kobe wants to try to have as many throwback nights as possible on the court. The younger players are trying to establish the pecking order for when Bryant retires. Plus, the Lakers wanted to avoid losing to the worst team in the NBA.
By a margin of 103 to 91, the Sixers defeated the Lakers, ended their losing streak and avoided an embarrassing record.
The Sixers are built around Jahlil Okafor. A stat line of 12 points and 5 rebounds would be great for most rookies, but the former Duke star has set the bar higher for himself. Okafor did not do as well as he had hoped. Fortunately for Philadelphia, starting forward Robert Covington decided to have a really good game. He had 23 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. That’s enough to make him MVP for the 76ers tonight. The award is usually reserved for Jahlil on most other nights.
Without a superstar effort by any of their players, Philadelphia relied on a team effort to beat Los Angeles. Six players scored in double figures. Starting forward Jerami Grant and starting guard Isaiah Canaan combined for 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Backup guards T.J. McConnell and Hollis Thompson combined for 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, which was quite the boost. Highly touted backup center Nerlens Noel contributed 14 points, and nine rebounds.
Kobe Bryant came into his hometown of Philadelphia ready to play. Unfortunately, his body did not cooperate once again. Taking 26 shots, Kobe only converted seven of those. It was good enough for 20 points, but overall the night was a disappointment. Starting forward Julius Randle and starting center Roy Hibbert were useful inside with a combined 18 points and 21 rebounds. Staring guards D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson, viewed as the future of the Los Angeles Lakers, combined to produce 31 points and nine rebounds but only six assists.
Los Angeles did not receive much help from their bench. While the second unit combined to have 11 rebounds, they were only able to contribute 22 total points. The Lakers starters are going to need much more help than that from guards Louis Williams and Nick Young, both of whom can score when they are on fire. Forwards Metta World Peace, Larry Nance Jr. and Brandon Bass were outplayed by Philadelphia 76ers backup center Nerlens Noel, who looked like he should be starting somewhere.
Do you think the Los Angeles Lakers can prevent themselves from being worse than the Philadephia 76ers?
[Featured Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]