Doc Rivers credits under-equipped Lakers for nearly beating Sixers

After earning one of their most impressive shorthanded wins of the year, the Philadelphia 76ers returned to the field to face the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

After missing out on Joel Embiid and James Harden on Monday, the Sixers found their two stars back in the mix ahead of the Lakers game.

While the Sixers were in great shape again on Wednesday, the Lakers couldn’t say the same. Not only did Los Angeles big man star Anthony Davis remain ruled out on Wednesday, but LeBron James also missed the game with knee pain.

James missed the Lakers game against the Sixers with knee pain earlier in the year. His absence was significant as the Lakers suffered a blistering loss at South Philly.

While LeBron and Davis’ absences were obviously noticeable on Wednesday night, the Lakers found much better results against the Sixers this time around.

keep it close

After beating the Sixers in the first quarter, the Lakers found the game drifting a bit away from them as the Sixers went on a run before halftime which put them in front with a nine lead. points.

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In the second half, the Lakers came out hot in the third quarter and beat Philadelphia 39-32 to have the game within one possession heading into the fourth quarter.

While the Sixers found the edge and prevented the Lakers from completing their comeback, Philly head coach Doc Rivers understands his team’s performance against the understaffed Lakers wasn’t exactly ideal .

Rivers and the Sixers are certainly happy to pick up the win, but the head coach gave the Lakers plenty of credit for stepping up without their top two stars and nearly pulling off the upset against the Sixers.

Credit to LA

“We won the game,” Rivers said. “I’ll leave it at that. We played and won the game. It wasn’t a masterpiece at all. I just think sometimes we look at a different goal. We scored 126 points and we shot at 52%. I thought we weren’t very good offensively, which is amazing when you consider how good we should be and can be.”

The Sixers gave up plenty of points defensively, but they responded with 126 points as four of five players in their starting XI scored more than 20 points on Wednesday. Although many expected the Sixers to easily drop a Lakers team without LeBron, but Los Angeles was motivated to really go with it.

“You can tell LeBron, and those guys weren’t there, and we played that way,” Rivers continued. “But give them credit, Frank allowed those guys to play hard. They moved the ball. They did some good things. Give them lots of credit. That’s a lot of firepower sitting on the bench .”

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.

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