Despite their woes, the Los Angeles Lakers can at least say today that they got the better end of the Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum swap. The Lakers will take on the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday night at Wells Fargo Center in what could have been the first matchup between the two centers since this summers trade.
The Lakers are 10-14, but Howard is averaging more than 18 points and 12 rebounds per contest, and Bynum has yet to take the court due to knee injuries, and Philadelphia has not timetable for his return.
Still the Sixers are 12-11 in part to their eighth ranked defense allowing just 94. 6 points per game.
Both clubs have struggled this December, winning just two games. The Lakers latest win came Friday night when the toppled the lowly Washington Wizards 102-96, behind league-leading scorer Kobe Bryant’s 30 points and stopped a four-game slide.
Reserve guard Jodie Meeks came off the bench to record 24 points and seven assists, as the Lakers might have turned a corner under new head coach Mike D’Antoni’s reign.
Bryant only shot 9-for-29, but Los Angeles kept up a speedy offensive pace, and also forced a season-high 19 turnovers, generating 26 points in the process.
Philadelphia dropped their second game in a row Friday against the Indiana Pacers 95-85, failing to contain Indiana’s Paul George. George scored 28 points, going 5-for-7 from 3-point range, and the Pacers outrebounded Philadelphia 48 to 36.
Third-year forward Evan Turner scored a team-high 22 points, along with 10 rebounds and five assists, while center Spencer Hawes came off the pine to net 18 points.
Philadelphia sorely missed point guard and leading scorer Jrue Holiday against Indiana. Holiday will be a time decision due to a sprained left foot.
Betting Odds: Los Angeles is favored by 3 points.
Over/Under: 197 points
Prediction: If Holiday plays, the 76ers can take advantage of the Lakers well documented struggles against top point guards. If he doesn’t, Turner will have to carry the load again. Look for the Lakers to pull out a late win behind a breakout performance from Howard.
Predicted Score: Los Angeles 107, Philadelphia 90