Here are some key takeaways and "best" and "worst" awards from the 76ers' 107-104 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers defense was patchy at best, and wasn't consistent until the fourth quarter. The loss was another example of the team's not giving its all for the full 48 minutes. The Sixers are a good — at times, great — team when they're firing on all cylinders. But if you mess around for the first three quarters, it makes it really difficult to win in the NBA, and the Sixers aren't good enough to slack off on the defensive end.
Joel Embiid is going to get his touches and, for the most part, be able to score at will. He finished with 33 points, but a 7-foot-2 guy should not finish the game with just seven rebounds and spend so much time away from the basket. One of the biggest points of emphasis for the Sixers entering the game was to limit the Lakers' offensive rebounds to prevent second-chance points. Embiid conceded that he wasn't aggressive enough, and the Sixers paid the price for that.
Richaun Holmes made a strong case for more playing time. The reserve center was largely the reason that the Sixers crawled back into the game in the fourth quarter. He scored 11 of his 13 points in the fourth, fought for rebounds, and played through contact. While he was on the floor with Embiid, the Sixers outscored the Lakers, 48-39.
Playing down to the competition didn't seem like too much of a big deal when it was very early in the season and the Sixers lost by one point in Sacramento. It could have been considered a fluke against the lowly Suns earlier this week. But now, in consecutive home games, the Sixers have lost twice when they were heavily favored to win. They failed to check off the boxes on their game plan, they took their opponent lightly, and they were punched in the mouth because of it.
T.J. McConnell's return after a three-game absence (shoulder) was not much of a return at all. The third-year guard didn't score, had three only assists, and turned the ball over twice.
‘Best’ and ‘worst’ awards
Best performance: Brandon Ingram led the Lakers with 25 points and hit the game-winning shot with 0.8 seconds left. He stayed composed when the game was tight and had all the confidence in the world that the dagger shot was going in. Ingram also finished with seven rebounds, six assists and a block.
Worst performance: There's no doubt that this one goes to the Sixers bench. Holmes was the lone bright spot on the second unit. Outside of Holmes' performance, the reserves scored zero points.
Worst statistic: The Sixers committed 18 turnovers, which the Lakers turned into 25 points on the other end.
Best statistic: The Lakers grabbed 15 offensive rebounds. It's the second game in a row the Sixers' opponent has had 15. The Lakers are a great offensive-rebounding team and turned their work into 22 second-chance points.
Worst of the worst: The Sixers had a lot of problems, but it's hard not to look at Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot's night without wincing. He went 0 for 4 from the field, including 0 for 3 from three-point land. His last two shots were back-to-back missed treys on the same offensive possession, after which he was booed off the floor. He also committed two fouls in his 12 minutes off the bench.