The loser will hold the third-best lottery position (based on the win column), behind the
The Sixers own the Lakers' first-round pick in June, but only if the Lakers' selection drops out of the top five. It's in Philadelphia's best interest for the Lakers to win -- just as it's in the Lakers' best interest for the 76ers to win.
Of course, once the players get on the floor, they're not especially interested in the lottery standings.
The Sixers have won two in a row, while the Lakers have dropped four straight.
Philadelphia's Joel Embiid (back) and Tony Wroten (knee) are out for the year.
For the Lakers,
Outside of the injured Wroten, forward
Covington has a solid outside shot, at 37.5% from behind the arc, but is hitting just 38.9% from the field.
Noted defender (but typically a non-scorer)
It's no surprise the Sixers score a league-worst 91.1 points a game, while allowing 100.3.
Philadelphia has just five road wins.
The key matchup for the Lakers is their defense, which allows 104.7 points a night, against Philadelphia's anemic offense.
Of course the Lakers' top-two scorers are out (Bryant and Young). Carlos Boozer and
The Sixers have one of the most promising rookies this season in
So far in March, Noel is averaging 13.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 2.0 blocks a game.
The Lakers are also relying on a rookie, guard Jordan Clarkson, who is at 13.7 points, 5.0 assists and 4.7 rebounds a game through 10 appearances in March.
Given how awful the Lakers have been this season, the franchise needs that first-round pick.
Coach Byron Scott has adamantly maintained that he is trying to win every game.
The Lakers have no business winning Sunday, which is why they probably will.