Friday, February 7, 2014, 7:00PM (EST) at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Posted: February 7, 2014
Before this season began, Sixers head coach Brett Brown talked about breaking the year into thirds – the first-third falling between opening night and Christmas, the second-third lasting from Christmas until the All-Star Break, and the final-third encompassing the remainder of the season.
Now 50 games into the year, the Sixers (15-35) are four games from closing out that second-third. The first of those four games comes Friday night against the Lakers (17-32) in the team’s final home contest before the All-Star Break.
The Lakers as of Late
And Then There Were Six
When Los Angeles comes to town Friday, only six of their 14 players will do so with a clean bill of health. The depleted Lakers have nine players listed on their official injury report, and of those nine, only one (Steve Nash) is listed as “probable”.
A Rare Occurrence
In fact, the Lakers were so undermanned in their 119-108 win in Cleveland on Wednesday that they invoked an NBA rule unknown to even the most devoted basketball fans. With 3:31 remaining in the fourth quarter and only five healthy players left at head coach Mike D’Antoni’s disposal, big man Robert Sacre committed his sixth personal foul. Under typical circumstances, this would have resulted in disqualification for Sacre. However, with nobody left on the Lakers’ bench to replace him, a seldom-used rule that requires both teams to have five players on the floor at all times allowed the seven-footer to stay in the game. The Lakers were assessed a technical foul and play continued.
One of the few bright spots during what has been a disappointing season for the Lakers, Nick Young went down with a knee injury during Wednesday’s win over Cleveland and is expected to miss roughly two weeks of action. The one-time Sixer is leading Los Angeles in scoring, averaging 16.9 points in 48 games played.
Thad Back in a Groove
Thaddeus Young has arguably been the Sixers’ most consistent performer over the last week or so. In Philadelphia’s previous five games, he’s averaged 19.2 points (54.7 FG%, 38.1 3P%), 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 2.4 steals a night. The last time the Sixers and Lakers met, on December 29 in Los Angeles, Young led the Sixers with 25 points, also contributing nine rebounds, three assists, and three steals in a 111-104 win.
There’s Something About Holly
Here’s something you probably didn’t know: Swingman Hollis Thompson leads all rookies in field-goal percentage, converting on 47.6% of his attempts. And here’s why: Over Thompson’s last 10 games, the 6’8” Georgetown alum has converted 27 of his 47 field-goal attempts (57.4%), raising his 45.0% shooting percentage an appreciable amount in a very short time. An adept spot-up shooter from the perimeter, Thompson has also hit an outstanding 11 of his last 18 three-point shots (61.1%) during that stretch. On the season, Thompson ranks eighth among rookies in points per game (5.9).