Two NBA title contenders, the Philadelphia 76ers and the LA Lakers, will go head to head on Thursday. The 76ers are missing NBA MVP contender Joel Embiid and Seth Curry, while the Lakers are without their two major stars - LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Philadelphia 76ers produced an efficient offensive performance in their last game, with Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons combining for 46 points.
The LA Lakers have lost the core of their team and come into this matchup off a hat-trick of losses. Anthony Davis is still weeks away from a return, while LeBron James’ absence has left a void on both ends of the floor. Kyle Kuzma produced a double-double in the last match and has stepped into the starting lineup because of injuries to key players.
Fixture: Philadelphia 76ers vs LA Lakers | NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Thursday, March 25th; 10:00 PM ET (Friday, March 26th; 8:00 AM IST).
Venue: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
Philadelphia 76ers Preview
Joel Embiid’s absence meant more responsibility for the likes of Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons on both ends of the court, and they have responded well. Simmons produced 22 points and 8 rebounds in their last game and is averaging 1.5 steals and 0.7 blocks as well. Tony Bradley is set to start again as he impressed with an 18-point double-double last time around.
The Philadelphia 76ers are also missing Seth Curry, another starter for the team. He is their best three-point shooter, and the 76ers have had to rely on Furkan Korkmaz in his absence. Overall, the Philadelphia 76ers are up against an injury-ravaged LA Lakers side that has struggled in recent games.
Key Player – Tobias Harris
With Joel Embiid’s consistent prolific production missing for the 76ers, they will look at their second most prolific scorer over the next few games. Tobias Harris has been producing a double-double in every other game for the Philadelphia 76ers and is the only player apart from Embiid to average over 20 points per game. Harris is shooting at over 40% from the 3-point line and could prove to be instrumental for the next few games.
Philadelphia 76ers Predicted lineup
G Ben Simmons, G Furkan Korkmaz, F Danny Green, F Tobias Harris, C Tony Bradley
LA Lakers Preview
The LA Lakers have predictably struggled in the absence of their two best players. However, James and AD are not the only injury concerns that they have. The LA Lakers are also without Marc Gasol and Jared Dudley, although the former is set to return in the coming days.
Regardless, the defending NBA champions are up for a monumental task and will require the likes of Kyle Kuzma, Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell to take charge in the coming games. The LA Lakers have dropped to 4th in the Western Conference standings with a 29-16 record because of their recent form and will not want to continue losing as many games.
Key Player – Montrezl Harrell
Montrezl Harrell has provided a spark off the bench in the LA Lakers’ recent games. He has been their top scorer in the absence of James and has contributed on both ends of the court. Harrell has the ability to block shots and is a brilliant finisher capable of dominating the glass as well. With LeBron and AD not there to provide an offensive spark in the starting lineup, his job has become even more important.
LA Lakers Predicted Lineup
G Dennis Schroder, G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, F Kyle Kuzma, F Markieff Morris, C Montrezl Harrell
UPDATE - Marc Gasol is expected to play against the Philadelphia 76ers. However, he will be on a minutes restrictions.
76ers vs Lakers Match Prediction
Under normal circumstances, the matchup between the LA Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers would have been a mouth-watering affair with two of the best players in the league going head to head. However, LeBron James and Joel Embiid are out, and the LA Lakers have several other injury concerns as well. The Philadelphia 76ers were comfortable winners in their last match and are the favorites to continue their form against the LA Lakers.