The Lakers have teased samples of the success that is in the future for the franchise throughout the season but have yet to put together a full 48 minute effort this season. LA is currently riding a five game losing streak, including two losses to start out the month of December. Last season, the Lakers didn’t have a pleasant December as they lost 14 of 16 games throughout the month. Heading into Thursday’s matchup with the Sixers, the Lakers will look to gain their first win of the month as well as revenge against the surging young Eastern team after losing to them on Nov. 15 when Embiid recorded a career-high 46 points in a stat stuffed effort that also included 15 rebounds, seven assists, and seven blocks.
The Sixers are looking for a bounce back game of their own after allowing Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns to come to the Wells Fargo Arena and leave with a win. The Sixers are good enough with this roster of young, up-and-coming stars to defeat a hopeless team like the Suns but took them too lightly. They don’t want to make that same mistake again when the Lakers come to visit on Thursday.
The matchup between Ben Simmons and Lonzo Ball won’t exactly headline this game like it did prior to their first matchup. This time it is simply the Lakers versus the Sixers. During their last meeting, Ball struggled the entire game shooting 1-for-9 ending with just two points, five rebounds, and two assists while Simmons flirted with a triple-double ending the game with 18 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds topped off with five steals. The inadequacy of Ball’s performance that night compared to Simmons’ causes a lack of debating who the better player is — unless Ball has one of the best games yet on Thursday to reset the debate.
For the Lakers to come out of this game victorious, they will need to focus on defending Embiid and prevent him from getting anywhere near the 46 points he torched them with in their last meeting and to convert on offense with more efficiency. The Lakers took 15 more field goal attempts than the Sixers in their last matchup just to make the same amount of shots. Those extra opportunities have to be converted at a more proficient rate.
Embiid isn’t likely to have an exact repeat of Nov. 15 but social media trolling king of the NBA will still have his way with the Lakers’ front court leading the Sixers to another win completing a season sweep against the Lakers, 121-109.