NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 17th (All times eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (19-7) at Philadelphia 76ers (10-15), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant and the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers resume a grueling seven-game road trip in the City of Brotherly Love tonight by taking on the suddenly resurgent Philadelphia 76ers.
The Lakers improved to an impressive 4-1 on their trek Wednesday in Indianapolis when Bryant, a Philadelphia-area native, scored a game-high 31 points and Pau Gasol added 28 and eight rebounds as Los Angeles topped the Pacers 109-94 at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Lamar Odom had his 12th double-double of the season, ending with 13 points and 17 rebounds for the Lakers, who have won three straight overall on their trip, which ends in Toronto on Sunday. Ron Artest added 13 points for the victors.
The Lakers were in the midst of their worst losing streak in three years the last time they faced the Indiana Pacers, a 95-92 setback in Hollywood back on Nov. 28.
"We've had a couple good starts," said Lakers head coach Phil Jackson. "It was our defense. It was terrific. It wasn't revenge. These guys remembered the Pacers celebrating in Staples (Center)."
On LA's off day on Thursday Bryant returned to Lower Merion High School in suburban Philadelphia for a ceremony where they named his alma mater's gymnasium after him. Bryant also pledged over $400,000 for educational and interactive exhibits within the gym where his old high-school coach, Gregg Downer, still pilots the team.
The Sixers, meanwhile, won their third straight game on Wednesday when Jrue Holiday scored a game-high 24 points as Philadelphia downed the Lakers' Staples Center co-tenants, the Los Angeles Clippers, 105-91.
The Sixers began the season with a 3-13 record but have since won seven of nine, including three in a row. They turned the ball over just five times on Wednesday while scoring 23 points off 15 giveaways from the Clippers, who are winless in 11 road games.
Andre Iguodala scored 16 of his 20 points in a strong second half for Philadelphia, which has won seven of its last eight at Wells Fargo Center. Spencer Hawes chipped in 16 points and 12 rebounds.
"We feel very confident and we're playing well," Sixers forward Elton Brand, who ended with 15 points said.
The Lakers have won seven of their last nine against the Sixers, including three straight in Philly.
12/17 10:53:16 ET