Friday, December 31, 2010

Lakers and Sixers clash in Hollywood

The two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers kick off a three-game homestand tonight against a road-weary Philadelphia 76ers club.

The Lakers, who will also face Memphis and Detroit on their residency, snapped an uncharacteristic three-game losing streak on Wednesday in New Orleans thanks in large part to a minor change in the starting lineup.

Lamar Odom was replaced for the first time this season by Andrew Bynum but scored a game-high 24 points off the bench to lead Los Angeles to a 103-88 victory over the Hornets.

Kobe Bryant added 20 points, Bynum scored 18 and Pau Gasol notched a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who also got nine points and eight assists from veteran point guard Derek Fisher.

"Things we were running inside of our offense were run well," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I wasn't so happy the second half. They got away from our end of the floor and played a little bit out of their own."

The Sixers, meanwhile, improved to 3-3 on a grueling, season-long eight-game trek in Phoenix on Wednesday when Jrue Holiday scored 25 points to go along with seven assists and rookie Evan Turner added a career-high 23 points in a reserve role, as Philadelphia topped the Suns, 123-110.

Andres Nocioni, starting in place of the injured Andre Iguodala, added a season-high 22 points and 12 rebounds. Spencer Hawes notched a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards for the Sixers.

Elton Brand and Thaddeus Young scored 16 and 15 points, respectively, for Philadelphia.

Iguodala missed his second straight game while dealing with right Achilles tendinitis but reserve guard Lou Williams scored 10 points in his first game back after missing two games due to the birth of his daughter.

"Needless to say, that was incredibly gratifying," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "I'm not used to those kinds of games. At halftime, I told our coaches I felt like a car going downhill without brakes. The Suns are so good at playing that game and I was so concerned about us being able to play that way for 40 minutes. We got a handle on them a little bit in the second half."

Iguodala is expected to be a game-time decision tonight.

The Lakers have won six of their past seven against Philadelphia, including a 93-81 triumph in the City of Brotherly Love two weeks ago.

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