The formula should be familiar to Laker fans this year: Kobe Bryant has a monster first half, the opponent adjusts to shut him down, and the Lakers can't counter adjust. Tonight, Bryant had 24 points in the first half, and then just two in the second half. Despite Kobe turning off in the second half, he insisted on putting the game on his shoulders despite Andrew Bynum having a 20 point, 20 rebound game. Not surprising that the Lakers came up short, 95-90.
The two teams continued to play at very similar levels in the second half, with two categories differentiating them. The Lakers out rebounded the 76ers 55-30, including 21 offensive rebounds. However, the turnover battle was won convincingly by the Sixers, 16-4. Ultimately, the Sixers were able to take better advantage of their turnover advantage than the Lakers could the rebound advantage.
One could argue that's where not having Mike Brown on the court hurt the Lakers. Not that Brown has shown an ability to completely reign in Kobe Bryant this season, but Kobe had no one in that Arena telling him to change his game up. While Bryant was able to make his usual circus shots, the deep three pointers and fade aways that he threw up while being double teamed looked silly with players open.
The Sixers were lead by Louis Williams who finished with 24 points. Philadelphia, enjoying an extended run of home games, have themselves atop the Atlantic Division despite not having a marquee superstar. The Sixers may not have an All Star starter, but they look like a team planning on making a deep playoff run.
For more recap on this game and the rest of the Grammy road trip, check out Silver Screen and Roll.