76ers out-Mamba shaky Lakers
A night that began with a moment of silence in remembrance of Kobe Bryant, ended with a game-winning elbow jumper with a familiar number — 2.4 — on the clock.
But this time the Lakers had to watch someone else make a Mamba shot.
Tobias Harris’ jumper from the left wing over Alex Caruso’s hand gave Philadelphia a 107-106 win and handed the Lakers their first road loss of the season in 11 games.
Harris’ jumper with 2.4 left were the 76ers’ only points in the final three minutes of the game.
“A great shot against good defense,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.
Anthony Davis tried to heave a miracle shot while slipping near half court at the buzzer but it wasn’t close.
Kobe Bryant fans remember and reflect on the passing of the Lakers legend one year ago.
After praising his team’s fourth-quarter defense and grit pregame, Doc Rivers had to watch the Lakers’ blitz Philadelphia in the final three minutes, scoring 13 straight points to end up taking a lead thanks to a brilliantly designed play that led to an easy Davis layup.
“We never believed we couldn’t get back in the game,” Vogel said.
But for a lot of the time the Lakers were never fully in it.
They trailed by 16 in the first quarter thanks to a pair of threes from old friend Danny Green and to physical domination by Joel Embiid, who the Lakers couldn’t keep off the foul line.
Embiid, who didn’t play against the Lakers last season, shot six free throws and had 13 points in the first quarter, showing why he’s near the top of the Most Valuable Player award ladder. He finished with 23 — his last basket coming after he blew past Davis on the baseline before making an incredible double-clutch reverse layup.
Then the Lakers’ surged.
With Caruso’s energy and active hands and big shots from Dennis Schroder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Lakers’ certain loss became incredibly close to a win. Down one, the Lakers’ perfectly executed a play, with Schroder screening Embiid to free Davis on a cut.
LeBron James hit him in stride, and Davis put the Lakers ahead for the first time since they were up 14-13.
But Philadelphia went to Harris, with the former Clipper easily able to shoot over Caruso for the winner, the Lakers ultimately unable to overcome the shortcomings that put them in a deep hole in the first place.
They missed too many open shots — they were just eight for 24 from deep — and too many easy ones. The Lakers hit only 16 of 25 free throws, with Davis and James missing four straight during one stretch in the fourth quarter as the 76ers pushed their lead to 13.
“I think we got some great looks,” James said. “[We] play the same way every game. It’s not like we changed our approach. And our shooters kind of struggled tonight, obviously. We need to open up the perimeter a lot more, but we got some great shots.”
And then there was Vogel, who received a technical foul earlier in the fourth, that free point looming large in a game his team lost by one.
James finished with 34 points, six rebounds and six assists, Davis added 23 to go with eight boards and two blocks, and Schroder scored 16 — all of them coming in the second half.
“I was terrible from the line,” Davis said.
Caruso added 10 off the bench while helping spark the comeback.
The anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s death comes on the same day as Montrezl Harrell’s birthday, a significance not lost on the young Lakers center.
“A.C. is whatever we need. A.C. is kind of a Swiss Army knife to be honest,” James said. “If you need scissors, a wine opener, fingernail clipper, you get a knife, he’s all that in one. He can do it all. He just helps our ballclub in so many ways.”
Embiid led the 76ers with 28, paying tribute to Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, on his sneakers. Harris had 24 and Ben Simmons had a triple-double with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
The Lakers continue their trip Thursday on the second night of a back-to-back in Detroit.
All things Lakers, all the time.
Get all the Lakers news you need in Dan Woike's weekly newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.