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Lakers come alive late and overcome their turnover woes in victory over 76ers

March 23rd, 2024

The crowd had come alive.

Fresh off a timeout after one of their 21 turnovers, the Lakers sprinted around the court on defense, trying to keep their one-point lead. They double-teamed 76ers point guard Tyrese Maxey, then Austin Reaves recovered to an open Nicolas Batum, and Philadelphia forced up a tough three-pointer. LeBron James grabbed the rebound, jetted down the court and scored.

Then another stop by the Lakers — Tobias Harris airballed a three, one of his five misses from deep. The Lakers ran again, this time with D’Angelo Russell zipping a pass to an open Anthony Davis for a dunk and a five-point lead with 5:35 left.

Crypto.com Arena was alive. So too were the Lakers.

“Ugly,” James said. “But we got the job done.”

Read more: Anthony Davis plays and Lakers overcome shaky start in blowout win over Hawks

The stretch helped push them across the finish line in a 101-94 win Friday night when they rarely were at their best offensively but were good enough when it mattered.

The win pushed the Lakers (38-32) six games over .500 and allowed them to pick up a game on 10th-place Golden State (36-33), which lost to Indiana, the Lakers’ opponent Sunday.

After the Pacers, the Lakers play Milwaukee, Memphis, Indiana (again), Brooklyn, Toronto and Washington on the road. The games with the Grizzlies and the Wizards will be on the second nights of back-to-backs.

It’s an opportunity for the Lakers to make up ground in the playoff race — all the teams other than the Pacers and the Bucks are out of the playoff picture.

“At the end of the day, we’re not really focused on seeding,” James said. “We’re just focused on what we can control. We can’t control the seedings if other teams are playing too well still. What you can control is go out and play and try to win as many games as you can and see where you land.”

The Lakers came into Friday on a four-day break, an unheard of respite this deep into the season, and they were able to hold a pair of practices with a focus on defense. Against the 76ers, they looked much improved on that end of the court, holding Philadelphia to 34.4% shooting from the field and only 18 points in the fourth quarter.

The Lakers’ turnovers threatened the night. Two on the first two possessions of the third quarter could’ve opened the door incredibly wide for the 76ers.

“Just us talking things through and not imploding,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “That frustration needs to be the prelude to focus. It’s human nature to get upset, angry about mistakes that are being made. But you can’t wallow in that emotion. You gotta move forward quickly in order to still sustain yourself and come out on top of a game like this.”

Davis led the Lakers with 23 points and 19 rebounds, with two of his four blocks coming in the final quarter. James had 11 of his 20 points in the fourth, and the other three starters — Rui Hachimura, Russell and Reaves — each finished with 14 points.

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 11 off the bench in 24 minutes while continuing his strong defensive play.

“They found me for a couple of good threes,” Dinwiddie said. “I was fortunate enough to make them.”

Russell set the Lakers’ single-season record for three-pointers with his second of the game, moving past Nick Van Exel’s mark of 183 in 1994-95.

Russell entered having made 42.4% from deep this season and hit four of 10 Friday.

“It just feels good to be a part of, like I said, one of these type of deals. And this franchise is one of the most prestigious,” Russell said. “So to have my name just to be a part of it, more than grateful, blessed beyond measures. Just want to keep continuing to shatter it if I can and make it really hard for the next person.”

Maxey led Philadelphia (38-32) with 27 points.

“We have to, no matter what happens on the offensive end, be able to rely on our defense,” Davis said. “They made some plays, made some shots. We turned it over 20-plus times tonight. They did their job on the defensive end to turn the ball over, which they’ve been great at since [Joel Embiid] has been hurt. We just stayed locked in defensively, too; continue to get stops, and then let that fuel our offense.”

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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